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12 Feb 2012

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

I feel a bit down about this because I've always tried to finish books so I can make a proper judgement.  Unfortunately I tried to get through The Turn of the Screw and I just couldn't get through more of it.  So it's an unfinished one for me. 

The problems I had with it was the narrative.  When it came to the new governess' p.o.v I found it too dramatic at times and that was what put me off.  The fact that she just seemed to know things. Know what these ghosts wanted.  Maybe I missed out a clue that led her to believe the ghosts were after the children but that's how it seemed to me.  Although it's a short novel I was almost halfway through before the ghostly experiences began.  I would have liked to have seen some hints that the place was odd - maybe from the children or Mrs. Grose.  Something building up to that first encounter with the ghosts.  Before they appeared the governess' thoughts seemed to revolve around the mystery of Miles' behaviour at school.  Her narrative was only concerned about that so there was a lot of repetition in her thoughts.  Too much time was spent talking about this news and how innocent the children were.

I feel bad about giving up because I was so excited to read the novel and I hate quitting.  It's a ghost story which is my little obsession at the moment and I was looking forward to reading more 19th century books.  I loved the module I took on it at university and was eager to read more from the period.  I might try and come back to it in the future but for now I've put it aside.


  1. I really hated this book the first time I read it, but then I was told to read it as if the governess is mad and it suddenly became very, very good :)

  2. I might try doing that. :) Thanks for the tip!