(Review) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Classics. October 8, 2020. First published 1898.
Genre: Fiction. Classic literature. Horror. Thriller. Gothic. Novella. Ghost story. Psychological.
Pages: 203 pages.
Source: Kindle Unlimited eBook edition.
Audience: Readers of classic literature. Readers of horror or gothic fiction.
Rating: Very good.

Henry James (1843-1916)
An American writer.
The Turn of the Screw first appeared as a series in the Collier’s Weekly magazine.

A governess has a new job caring for a young brother and sister who are orphaned. They live in a country estate managed by their uncle. The uncle doesn’t want anything to do with their upbringing other than providing a place for them to live. One of the terms of hiring the new governess is she is not to contact him. She and Mrs. Grose (housekeeper) are to handle the children. The children are Miles and Flora. They are described as beautiful children.
Soon after the new governess arrives she sees a young man and woman. She sees them in various places around the house. They seem strange and sinister. She wonders who they are and what they want?
Miles has been dismissed from school. The governess doesn’t know the reason.
The governess shares her feelings to Mrs. Grose about Miles dismissal from school.
The governess shares her feelings to Mrs. Grose about the strange couple she sees lurking around the house.

My Thoughts:
This is not a story that I understood what is happening. I am left to “figure it out.”
I had a thought running through my mind while reading it: is the governess seeing ghosts or is she having a psychotic episode?
The governess is young. She is inexperienced. She is easily taken in by the two children because they are beautiful, young, and innocent.
Much of the story is the governess’s thoughts.
I wondered: what direction would the story have gone if Mrs. Grose had not believed the governess’s story about seeing the couple?
The story intensifies with anticipation about the needed conversation between the governess and Miles because of his dismissal; and, who is the couple on the property?
The story ends not as I expected and without closure.

What do I like about this story?
I like the structure and form of the story.
I like the unique telling of it.
I like the other-worldly-haunting-feeling of the house.
I like it that the story made me think…and think outside the box perse.

Is The Turn of the Screw scary? No. It is a strange story. It is a story that is odd-peculiar.


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