Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw

by Henry James
published 1898
completed April 2010

A young governess takes the charge of looking after two young children who have lost their parents.  The uncle is their guardian, but leaves the governess to care for them at her own discretion.  Their uncle lives elsewhere and does not want to be bothered.  Soon the governess starts to see ghosts and is concerned for the welfare of the children.

This book was just okay for me.  I didn't love it, but didn't hate it.  It didn't really frighten me.  I know there are two schools of thought with regard to this book.  Some believe that the ghosts are real, and others believe that the governess is crazy.  I am of the "she is super crazy" camp.  The governess really irritated me.  She had some serious issues pining over the children's uncle that she only briefly met.  She doted on the children, not because she cared about them, but because she thought it would put her in the good graces of the uncle.

The ending was kind of weird.  I didn't really know what to think.  I had to re-read it because I wasn't even sure what happened.  Henry James' writing is a bit difficult to process.  It takes some serious concentration.  I had just finished tax season when I read this.  Maybe my brain being fried from overuse contributed to my apathy for this book.  I don't know if I would recommend it, but I wouldn't persuade anyone not to read it.  It isn't bad, and it is super short which is a plus.  If you are so inclined, give A Turn of the Screw a try.


  1. This is one I've been meaning to read for years! Not sure why I've never gotten around to it.

  2. Kathy--You'll have to give it a try. I didn't love it but quite a few people do. It's super short--less than a hundred pages.