Henry James’s paranormal tale of ghosts and evil, will leave you chilled to the bone.
Jane has just landed her first job, she is being sent to the country to be a governess to two orphaned children. On being interviewed by the children’s uncle, he tells her never to contact him, on any circumstance. Despite the strange request, Jane takes the job and on reaching Bly she meets the two hauntingly beautiful children – Flora and Miles. But everything is not as it seems in Bly – the previous governess left suddenly and died and then there’s Peter Quint, who also worked in the house, but has mysteriously disappeared. Jane tries to uncover the the truth behind the horrors of Bly, as well as protect the supposedly innocent children.
This is a particularly eerie one. This is my second time reading The Turn of the Screw, and it gets no less creepy the second time. A second reading also does not give the answers that you so desperately seek at the end of the story. The Turn of the Screw is a mystery, it leads you in circles and you never truly find out what the horrors of Bly are. The narrator Jane, is a completely unreliable one. Is she mad? Is she being terrorized by the ghosts of Peter Quint and her predecessor Miss Jessel? Is she just hysterical? Is she doing this in hope the children’s uncle will come to visit? There are so many options. Not only that the two children are Omen worthy in their creepiness, they seem so sweet and innocent, but are definitely not all that they seem.
It’s a pretty short book – some ninety pages, but it is by no means a quick read. Much of the story is in what is not said, the gaps and silences in which no character actually speaks. It can feel a bit laborious, but it’s a very interesting story for the time period, the idea that what you are reading might not be the absolute truth is a very modernist viewpoint for the 1890’s.
It’s a very spooky story, the setting – an old country mansion situated next to a small sleepy village. A small staff working in the house so many empty, disused rooms. It makes for a very tense, uneasy setting, and it definitely helps to create the sense of horror in the novel. It’s a pretty enjoyable read, though make sure you read it with the lights on!