Review: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

I struggled through this one. Henry James’s narrative style in The Turn of the Screw is weak, full of qualifications and tiny details. I had to reread a few sentences to catch their meaning and some content escaped me. (I hate admitting this sort of thing; I worry it makes me sound dense.)

The Turn of the Screw follows a young governess in charge of a large house and two young children. Two ghostly figures appear and the governess believes they’re interested in the children. Both kids act bizarrely when questioned and the governess suspects they’re being used to some dark end. However, it’s just as likely that the governess is mentally unstable. This ambiguity is nicely balanced throughout the novel and, though I felt I wasn’t following the story to the fullest, the conclusion was shocking and still made an impact. read more