The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This collection includes a few of Henry James’ other short stories but in this post I  want to focus on The Turn of the Screw which is probably the most well-known and it is also the one that I was set to read as part of my university course this semester.

This is definitely a book that I would have never bought if it weren’t for me having to read it for university as I am not into spooky stories of any kind to be honest as I find that I am scared very easily but I am glad that I have read it, though it was a difficult read.

In my edition, which is the Vintage Classics edition with a very creepy cover, The Turn of the Screw is just 133 pages long. To be honest, I thought it would be a quick read but I soon found the writing style to be overly wordy and overall very slow to get through. At some points, sentences would go on for almost a page and it just seemed unnecessary and on many occasions I had to reread passages to understand their full meaning.

I really didn’t like the themes of paedophilia and just the general creepiness of all of the relationships between the adults and children as it was uncomfortable to read and in a lot of ways it didn’t seem to fit the story somehow. It wasn’t that there was anything graphic, more just implied, but I think that the main source of creepiness was this rather than the ghost story itself.

To be honest I didn’t enjoy this story at all. I found it overly wordy (though I began to get used to that), I disliked all of the characters and the ending was extremely abrupt considering how drawn out the rest of it was so I don’t think I could recommend it. If you like horror/creepy stories I suppose you may like this novella and although I will be reading the other stories in this collection at some point, I can’t say I enjoyed this classic tale.

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