Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Turn of The Screw by Henry James

I listened to the audio through Craftlit, as part of the older episodes. I wasn't sure what I expected and I'm still not sure about it. It's tagged as a ghost story novella and I can get why it's a "big deal". But I'm in the area of "What a good plot!" and "Why can't it sound....less laborious?".

Classics, especially Victorian era classics, do have a certain method of speech and I get that, however this made me feel pulled out of the story more than it made me interested. Honestly, if not for Heather's commentary about the story, I would have missed a lot.

The plot is good and nicely ambiguous. A young governess is hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew. Mrs. Grose is the housekeeper and is the governess' confidante throughout the story. The young boy, Miles, has been kicked out of school for unknown reasons and the young girl, Flora, appears to be a sweet young girl.

The governess starts seeing ghosts and, once described to Mrs. Grose, finds the ghosts to be the former employees, including the former governess. Things start getting weird because we just aren't sure what is happening. It's clear she saw the ghosts. But does she continue seeing them? Are the children seeing them? Is the governess just losing her mind?

It's interesting to see her spiraling downward and seeing where it eventually ends up. The ending was crazy abrupt and still so up in the air that I'm not sure yet what really happened.

Since it's so short, I wouldn't tell people NOT to read it, but if you can focus on the plot and the twists and turns instead of the language, you will probably enjoy it.
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