Saturday, January 25, 2020

213. The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw
Henry James
Around 200 pages

Ah, a good Henry James story, the likes of which we haven't seen since Portrait of a Young Lady. I wonder if it caused him physical pain to only write 200 pages.  Miraculously, the short length of the novel forced him to create something remarkably fast-paced, especially compared to his other works.

A young governess is hired to take care of a little boy and a girl, as their uncle (their legal guardian) has no interest in taking care of them. The governess is charmed by the children but soon believes that the house is haunted.

This is actually a fun novel to debate. Is the governess crazy or are the ghosts real? I won't get into my theory, which would contain spoilers, but I love it when authors are respectful enough of readers to not spoon-feed us everything (of course, if they go too far in the other direction, that's annoying too).

So this novel proves Henry James can be very interesting when he wants to be. Unfortunately, the mood strikes him very rarely.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The upcoming movie The Turning is a modern take on this ghost story.

Henry James loved ghost stories, but tried to stay away from the stereotypical apparitions found in previous literature.

UP NEXT: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Another story I am familiar with, so expect another review up shortly!


  1. You are so fast, Amanda. I will never catch up with you.

  2. Angela, updated, sorry about that! 3 stars :)

    TSorenson, I bring a book with me everywhere I go, but there's something to be said about going at a slower pace, and letting things sink in more. I just can't resist though:).