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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw (1898)

by Henry James

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4,1031201,229 (3.46)543
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    Old People and The Things That Pass by Louis Couperus (pingdjip)
    pingdjip: A Dutch classic. Like The Turn of the Screw it's about restraining, silencing, suppressing a truth that nevertheless manifests itself in subtle ways. But unlike The Turn of the Screw it's actually a very good read.
  10. 00
    The Magus by John Fowles (WSB7)
    WSB7: Appearances also arise, and many more turns of the screw.

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» See also 543 mentions

English (105)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Vietnamese (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
I like the ambiguity of the ghosts, it is the redeeming aspect of the story. Otherwise, I am convinced that woman is crazy and much of the dialogue seemed annoyingly unrealistic. "oh you know you know!" I guess no one could speak plainly back then? It is a quick read. I gave four insead of three stars because I think some aspects just didn't translate over time and the book deserves some credit for originaity when written. ( )
  CassandraT | Oct 10, 2014 |
Review posted over at The Bibliophile Chronicles!

Henry James’s paranormal tale of ghosts and evil, will leave you chilled to the bone.


Jane has just landed her first job, she is being sent to the country to be a governess to two orphaned children. On being interviewed by the children’s uncle, he tells her never to contact him, on any circumstance. Despite the strange request, Jane takes the job and on reaching Bly she meets the two hauntingly beautiful children - Flora and Miles. But everything is not as it seems in Bly - the previous governess left suddenly and died and then there's Peter Quint, who also worked in the house, but has mysteriously disappeared. Jane tries to uncover the the truth behind the horrors of Bly, as well as protect the supposedly innocent children.


This is a particularly eerie one. This is my second time reading The Turn of the Screw, and it gets no less creepy the second time. A second reading also does not give the answers that you so desperately seek at the end of the story. The Turn of the Screw is a mystery, it leads you in circles and you never truly find out what the horrors of Bly are. The narrator Jane, is a completely unreliable one. Is she mad? Is she being terrorised by the ghosts of Peter Quint and her predecessor Miss Jessel? Is she just hysterical? Is she doing this in hope the children’s uncle will come to visit? There are so many options. Not only that the two children are Omen worthy in their creepiness, they seem so sweet and innocent, but are definitely not all that they seem.

It’s a pretty short book - some ninety pages, but it is by no means a quick read. Much of the story is in what is not said, the gaps and silences in which no character actually speaks. It can feel a bit laborious, but it’s a very interesting story for the time period, the idea that what you are reading might not be the absolute truth is a very modernist viewpoint for the 1890’s.

It’s a very spooky story, the setting - an old country mansion situated next to a small sleepy village. A small staff working in the house so many empty, disused rooms. It makes for a very tense, uneasy setting, and it definitely helps to create the sense of horror in the novel. It’s a pretty enjoyable read, though make sure you read it with the lights on! ( )
  ColeReadsBooks | Oct 2, 2014 |
You know, it's good. I just don't like Mr. James' style. Oi! with all the goddamn commas! It's halting and unnecessary. I did, however, enjoy the story. Deep, engaging, suspenseful, everything you'd want in a ghost story. It's just his style. I can't get into it. I finally, in the last 20 pages or so, figured out how to tolerate his style: ignore the commas. It worked capitally. It was almost like reading Dickens.

In all, I recommend this book, I just don't prefer it. ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
A classic ghost story, complete with a sprawling estate and creepy children. For the review, visit The Book Wheel. ( )
  thebookwheel | Aug 4, 2014 |
I loved this short novel that is basically a ghost story. The story is told through the first person account of a governess who is hired by the uncle and guardian of two children who live in a house in the country. The governess is told that the uncle doesn't want to be bothered at all about the kids and the governess is left to fend for herself with them. Soon after arriving at the house, the boy is sent home from his boarding school for unidentified misbehavior and the governess begins to see two ghosts. She finds from the housekeeper that these are the ghosts of former workers at the house. I wouldn't consider any of that info to be spoilers, but I won't give any more of the plot away for those who haven't read this yet. I'll just say that James is very good at giving just enough info to make your imagination run wild and there is not a neat, clean ending so your imagination can continue filling in the details after you're done reading. I read this on my kindle and I was shocked when I clicked "next page" and saw THE END.

One thing that took me a long time to get into is the sentence construction and use of way too many commas!!!! For instance:

In the first weeks the days were long; they often, at their finest, gave me what I used to call my own hour, the hour when, for my pupils, teatime and bedtime having come and gone, I had, before my final retirement, a small interval alone.

Yikes!! That's a complicated sentence for a really simple idea. ( )
  japaul22 | Jun 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (90 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benjamin, VanessaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cialente, FaustaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fyhr, MattiasPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hazenberg, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klingberg, OlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lydis, MarietteIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, CarlIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it ws gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no comment uttered till somebody happened to say that it was the only case he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child.
She was a magnificent monument to the blessing of a want of imagination...
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Book description
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate ...

Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows - silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children. Seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls.

But worse - much worse - the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil.
For they want the talking dead as badly as the dead want them.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0486266842, Paperback)

The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:13 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

One of literature's most gripping ghost stories depicts the sinister transformation of 2 innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. Elegantly told tale of unspoken horror and psychological terror creates what few stories in literature have been able to do ? a complete feeling of dread and uncertainty.… (more)

» see all 26 descriptions

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Average: (3.46)
0.5 7
1 33
1.5 14
2 102
2.5 44
3 271
3.5 60
4 298
4.5 34
5 157


Sixteen editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Coffeetown Press

An edition of this book was published by Coffeetown Press.

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Urban Romantics

Two editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175811, 190917582X

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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