Title: The Turn of the Screw

Author: Henry James

Year: 1898

Genre: Horror/ novella/ classic

Available from Audible 

illustration from turn of the screw
An illustration from The Turn of the Screw that emphasizes the Gothic elements of the book. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
 I started this short book in late October when I was in the mood for a spooky read.  One of my dearest friends and fellow bookworm recommended it to me. “If you like psychological thrillers and are a fan of governesses alone in spooky houses, you will love this story.”
 As usual, he was right.
 Despite the fact that I was an English major in college, this was my first encounter with Henry James. Let’s just say that Mr. James and I waited far too long to make one another’s acquaintance.
I feel a bit silly writing a review for such a well known classic piece of literature- what more is there to be said? James is clearly a gifted storyteller who knows his craft.

 

From the moment the story opens, the reader is kept in suspense. James uses the clever tactic of a framed story to engage the audience. The reader cannot help but lean forward as we gather around the fire and listen with baited breath for what the narrator will reveal.

 

Slowly – almost painstakingly- James builds suspense as he carefully twists the screw one anguishing turn at a time. He expertly builds suspense as he winds the thread of the story ever tighter until finally, at long last, the string snaps and the reader is left to recoil from the sudden shock of the ending.

 

I read the Audible version of this book and the narration was outstanding. Emma Stone gives a particularly skilled performance as the frightened governess and Richard Armitage is the perfect choice for the opening section.

 

I highly recommend for lovers of classics and those who are interested in psychological thrillers.