The Turn of the Screw – Henry James (Audiobook)

I’ve really enjoyed taking part in Carl’s R.I.P III Challenge and read some really great books, but sometimes spooky stories work best when told to you…

So, for my audible download this month I went searching for a suitable creepy story. Now I do enjoy audiobooks, but I also have to have a tendency to “drift away” from them, not too bad in an adventure story but creepy story you want to stay “in the mood” so rather that a long James Herbert or Stephen King I selected this little story, that promised to fit the bill.

To some extent it did, it was definitely creepy and the slightly stilted/structured Victorian language, demanded concentration from the listener.

In it’s simplest form, it is the tale of a Governess, who heads off to a remote house, to care for her employers two young charges. Once there, she starts to see the ghosts of previous servants. The tension then builds throughout, to a slightly sudden and abrupt end. But there is more to it than that.

To the sophisticated modern reader brought up on the visceral thrills of the aforementioned, King, Herbert and their ilk, the “simpleness” of the scares may be creepy but might not pose the threat, that they once did when the book was first written, but the real sense of creepiness, is the ambiguousness of the story telling, the narrator is unreliable (both in her own tale and the fact that while it appears to be told in her first person, is in fact being told round the fire by an friend on a acquaintance) where there really ghosts? was she mad? where there really ghosts who sent her mad?

To be honest I got more pleasure, thinking about this and reading other peoples thoughts and reviews than I got from the tale itself, and it is for this and the fact it is a quick read/listen that I still recommend it if you come across a copy.

Buy, The Turn of the Screw, from Amazon.

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  1. Heather J. says:

    I dropped by for the first time b/c Chris over at Stuff as Dreams are Made On mentioned your blog the other day. I’ve been browsing through some old posts, trying to get a feel for your blog, and came across this one. I read this recently as well and I had some of the same reactions that you did. By modern standards it isn’t all that creepy, but the ambiguity of the narrator is what made it so strange … there simply isn’t enough info provided to figure out “the truth”. I think I’d like to listen to the audio version at some point – you’re right, some stories are meant to be ‘told’.

    Heather J.´s last blog post: Starfinder

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