I liked On The Beach. I did not find it depressing at all, nor did I find the actions of the people in the story inexplicable. Yes, this is an "end ofI liked On The Beach. I did not find it depressing at all, nor did I find the actions of the people in the story inexplicable. Yes, this is an "end of the world" tale but, like another reviewer, I found it to be a story which discusses the strength of the human spirit in the face of impossible odds. The writing is very plain yet skillfully conveys a message of peace and hope. The writing might even be called subtle. I think what readers take away from this book will have a lot to do with what they bring to it. Some will appreciate the dignity and strength with which the main characters meet their ends. Others will be disappointed that this isn't more like a "zombie apocalypse".
Finally, the book is a bit dated in that I don't believe the scenario that people were so frightened of in the 1950's will ever come to pass. The world has changed a great deal since then and the few nuclear bombs that might be used offensively will not trigger the kind of frenetic retaliatory response that previous generations were afraid of, so the "warning" contained in the book loses some of its teeth. We won't be wiping ourselves off the planet any time soon in a world-wide nuclear holocaust. Yet, the warning about aggression and retaliation still resonates and because of that this book is still a thoughtful read....more
Why I gave this silly book 3 stars...because I did "like it" back in the 1970's when I first read it. Fast forward to now, I probably wouldn't even boWhy I gave this silly book 3 stars...because I did "like it" back in the 1970's when I first read it. Fast forward to now, I probably wouldn't even bother reading it. Pure science fiction! ;)...more
The Turn of the Screw is my first exposure to the writing of Henry James and I'm not sure I'll become a fan although I didWARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!
The Turn of the Screw is my first exposure to the writing of Henry James and I'm not sure I'll become a fan although I did enjoy the story. If I had to describe this story in one word that word would be "creepy". By the same token if I had to describe the style of writing in one word it would be "verbose". I won't fault any reader for needing a dictionary close at hand while reading. And there were many, many times it was hard to find the creepy in amongst the verbosity. Since this was a short story I felt it would be extremely lazy of me to skim and, as I continued to read I realized that gleaning the creepy out of the text did require that I read every word otherwise I might miss something, and this made The Turn of the Screw one of the most nuanced "ghost stories" I've ever read. Finally, the ending is one of those where I found myself reading the last word and immediately going back a page or two to discover what I must have missed! It's not that the writing was bad but the ending did seem very abrupt and the story had been so nuanced throughout that I honestly felt I'd missed a clue.
I would not call this story a "thriller". Indeed, it doesn't fit neatly into any genre in my humble opinion. It is an atmospheric and complex story disguised, through clever writing, as a simple, linear tale of a few months in the life of a governess. The story may actually be more apropos to our time than to the time in which it was written when you consider how "stalking" has almost become a world-wide pastime. The Turn of the Screw gives us a chilling inside look at the mind of a stalker -- how her altered reality seems so very real to her no matter how increasingly illogical or unnatural her world becomes, and how she justifies her actions despite the absence of logic and the promptings of her own good conscience. In fact, she twists her conscience until it conforms to what she wants to believe -- that she is a "protector". She must twist it this way or face the reality that she is the one from whom others must be protected. Is she mad or manipulative? James' writing lets us decide and that, ultimately, made this an interesting read for me. It's definitely not for everyone....more