Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review: The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the ScrewThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, now, after reading Henry James in college and being absolutely flummoxed and bewildered by what I was reading, I decided that maybe I wasn't ready for Henry James at the time. Maybe I wasn't mature enough. Well, after reading The Turn of the Screw, which may be his masterpiece, I have decided that I was right. This fiction is rich stuff! (No pun intended).

The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story. Or maybe it isn't, which is why I ended up enjoying this novella. Unlike other old tales, where the hidden connotations are so mired in history that you have to study the time period to truly grasp its deeper meanings, The Turn of the Screw is timeless enough that issues like child molesters and psychosis can be read into the narrative as being possibilities. It definitely holds up, and I definitely caught its gist.

The only reason this novella isn't getting five stars from me is because of Henry James' narrative approach. Sometimes, he would use pages upon pages to describe an emotion or feeling that could have been cut down to a single paragraph. So that much I still remember hating about Henry James. But otherwise, this is a masterful story written by a master writer. A stellar achievement.

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