37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
chilling, disturbing, eerie - definitely worth perservering,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Turn of the Screw (Everyman) (Paperback)
Outwardly the novella appears to be a straightforward ghost story, narrated by the governess the 'victim' of this story A governess is offered the position of taking under her care two small charges - brother and sister - whose parents have passed away. Their uncle whom is their legal guardian assigns them to the care and protection of a young governess twenty years of age.
Placed in supreme authority of the big ramnbling country house over the children and servants - the young governess becomes aware of malevolent presences within and around the house. She sees the ghosts of the previous valet and governess both of whom passed away a while back. Convinced the two ghosts are after the souls of her two young charges, she resorts to desperate measures and round the clock care to keep the children safe and solve the mystery of the relationship between the previous inhabitants and her dependants.
However a disturbing relationship develops between her and that of her sole charges - most noticably Miles, the young boy. It is this eerie theme of sexual and social unrest that makes the novel so disturbing. Much of the novel is told through the viewpoint of the governess. It is only by studying the dialogues between her and her charges that the truth, her behaviour, her ulterior motives, finally becomes apparent.
Henry James does a fine job of creating an eerie atmosphere, keeping the reader in suspense. His delicate allusions to the strange forces of evil keep the plot from becoming obvious. A second reading of the novel is essential in order to realise fully the truth that is constantly hinted at throughout the novel.
The Turn of the Screw succeeds due to its ambiguity and projection of mental imbalance, all the more powerful as events are told from the governess' viewpoint. The reader has to sift and judge the account on an objective basis in order to be able to perceive the truth.