Jennifer's Reviews > The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction

The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction by Henry James
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's review
Nov 16, 2008

really liked it

30. Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This story, for me, was like a recipe that required me to chop a lot of vegetables before I could start cooking. In the end, I immensely enjoyed this psychologically driven suspense story. The story centers around a governess who is newly employed to a lonely house with several other servants and two beautiful children, Flora and Miles. Their uncle is the guardian and he stays off premises in London. Right away, the governess begins to see strange, "unnatural" things. It starts with what she initially perceives as a flash of light. It progresses to the point where the governess deduces that the two former deceased employees who were inappropriately and secretly in love return regularly to visit Flora and Miles. The governess also senses that the children are aware of the unnatural visitors and have schemed to keep it from her, their teacher and authority.

This story can be read many different ways, making it all the more delicious and rich. The shocking ending and the period of which James wrote leads me to believe that he authored our watchful governess to have been quietly and unknowingly going mad in that house. She, alone, saw what she saw with no confirmation from other central characters like Miles, Flora and Mrs. Grose. The governess lives to tell the story, but tells it years and years later as if time has not altered her notion one bit.

All in all, if you are a patient and careful reader who enjoys psychological stories, this one is a winner.
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06/24/2016 marked as: read

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