4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Ambiguous but too flamboyant,
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This review is from: The Turn of the Screw (Kindle Edition)
I don't usually read novels from this era as I tend to prefer modern fiction, set in contemporary America for example. However I know many people who have really enjoyed "Turn of the Screw" so I cast aside my usual tendencies and jumped into Henry James' atmospheric novel about a governess, caring for her two rather too innocent wards.
I liked the concept of the novella, and still do, however I found it difficult to engage with the style of prose. Perhaps it is because of my inclinations towards twentieth century writing that pushed me away from the somewhat "flowery" and convoluted writing style that James employs. It may be typical of the time but James uses thirty words to describe the governess' feelings towards a tree or a mere hallway. When describing the protagonist's thought processes, I ended up losing the meaning behind the text, not really absorbing what James was trying to convey in his multitude of words.
The story itself is intriguing and ambiguous - I enjoyed the uncertainty behind the apparitions and the nature of the children. James manages to pour doubts over the sanity of the governess yet also cause the reader to feel frustration at Mrs Grose's lack of vision when the ghosts appear.
Having read other reader's opinions of the book and critical interpretations, I find myself "understanding" what James intended far more than just after I had finished the novella. Nevertheless, I felt the flamboyant style of writing would put me off ever re-reading "Turn of the Screw", though I am glad that I have finally read it after all these years.