Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The turning of the screw

The turning of the Screw is an old classic ghost story which has always appealed to me so when I saw it by chance in the library last week I took it out.

Its a very short book of around 130 pages and is about a governess who is given charge of two small children whose parents have died.

Given authority of these children and servants in a big old country house, the young governess becomes aware of malevolent presences within and around the house. She sees the ghosts of both a previous valet and governess both of whom are now dead. Convinced the two ghosts are after the two young children, she tries to keep the children safe and solve the mystery of the relationship between the previous inhabitants and the children.

There is certainly a good eerie atmosphere when reading this book which builds up throughout and I thought the moments when the governess saw the spectres genuinely creepy. I did not expect the ending at all and I'm not sure yet what I think of it.

Unfortunately – and this is personal taste, I found the writing style very flowery and heavy. I did get used to this as the book went on but this means that for me it was not an easy read.

Verdict 3/5

Posted by Jess


  1. I have never read this...I've heard of it, of course, but for some reason have never picked it up. It's one of those books where I think I might read it someday, but I'm not particularly anxious to.

  2. I read this one thinking "oh, a nice shortish story and a classic. great!" and was bored to death with it. I've since read The Portrait of a Lady and have concluded Henry James is not my cup of tea. IMO, he was too conscious of his writing. It feels strained and heavy.