Posted by: jacstar | October 8, 2008

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This is a classic novel, supposedly thrilling in the sense of the word. From what I gather it’s about a woman who babysits two very odd children. The two kids (brother and sister) have been expelled from school for reasons unknown and have no one to care for them. Not really sure how the woman gets the job but she’s basically a live-in nanny.

Shortly after her “custody” the woman realizes that she can see ghosts. These ghosts are targeting the children and the woman feels it’s her duty to protect them.


This story is strange, but it’s not scary in the least. Maybe it was in it’s time, but certainly not now. I found it to be overly wordy. “I said to the man, because I felt like saying so, what a wonderful day it is, if I do say so myself, which I indeed did say to the man.” Maybe this is also a trait of classical writing? This is NOT an example from the book – I don’t dare pick that retched thing up again – it’s my personal example of “wordyness.”

I believe the point of the story is to ask the question “are ghosts for real?” If you already have an answer for that question then don’t waste your time with the book. If you have a curiosity in the subject matter and a passion for classics – this may be the book for you. I won’t dismiss it entirely, it really just wasn’t my style.



  1. I always used to get this mixed up with The Taming of the Shrew – God knows how I ever passed English! šŸ˜‰

    I used to have the very same issues with older books – I found the writing style very hard to overcome at times. One of my favourite authors is H.G. Wells but he could be pretty hard work at times. I always wondered whether people really spoke like that at the beginning of last century or not.

  2. I loved your example of wordyness! LOL sounds like this was a difficult read…maybe the next spooky story will be better! šŸ™‚

  3. Well i have a list of classics – almost one hundred in my ereader. It will take me EONS to get through them all – but i’m hoping they’re better than this. I even have other stories by Henry James… we shall see

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