Customer Reviews for

The Turn of the Screw

Average Rating 3.5
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not an 'easy' read, but worth the effort

James' prose wasn't spun out on a word processor for reading in an airport or bus station. It takes effort to follow the tightly constructed sentences. But those who do will be rewarded with a great read. No disembodied hands, moving furniture or gore, just spine-tingli...
James' prose wasn't spun out on a word processor for reading in an airport or bus station. It takes effort to follow the tightly constructed sentences. But those who do will be rewarded with a great read. No disembodied hands, moving furniture or gore, just spine-tingling horror. Having seen the film actually helps, since it was so well cast you can picture the actors as you read the story.

posted by Anonymous on December 10, 1999

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Henry James: pompous blathering extraordinaire

It's not the worst thing I've ever read, to be sure; but it's far from the best. To begin with, James' style is convoluted to an unnecessary degree, making it sometimes a labor to wade through a sentence that a more straightforward author -- Dickens, say -- could have ...
It's not the worst thing I've ever read, to be sure; but it's far from the best. To begin with, James' style is convoluted to an unnecessary degree, making it sometimes a labor to wade through a sentence that a more straightforward author -- Dickens, say -- could have expressed in half as many words. James' characters are almost uniform in voice: one may observe immediately that Douglas, the narrator, and the governess all speak in very much the same manner. The story drags, and the ending is hardly worth having disentangled so much parenthetical confusion to arrive at (James seems to think it a mark of great literacy to express 90% of his story in dependant clauses between commas -- between other dependant clauses between other commas...). In short, there are better books in both the category of Classics and the category of Horror. In the former category, I would recommend anything whatsoever by Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost is rather amusing, for instance); in the latter category, I would recommend several works of Stephen King's (The Dark Half, The Shining, Skeleton Crew...). There is nothing wrong with Henry James, I'll admit -- but that's a poor compliment, and little reason to buy a novel, eh?

posted by Anonymous on April 4, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    Not an 'easy' read, but worth the effort

    James' prose wasn't spun out on a word processor for reading in an airport or bus station. It takes effort to follow the tightly constructed sentences. But those who do will be rewarded with a great read. No disembodied hands, moving furniture or gore, just spine-tingling horror. Having seen the film actually helps, since it was so well cast you can picture the actors as you read the story.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Dry but worth it

    I find Henry James' writing to be a bit dry but regarless, I still enjoyed this book. James does an excellent job of alluding to a controversial topic that was not openly talked about in Victorian England. He cleverly goes around the topic to avoid strict criticism, and does it in exquisite prose. It takes a little time to interpret but is worth it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Good

    I liked it BUT it was a hard read. The writing and trying to "read between the lines" of what the teacher and maid are saying. But I did and I loved the gothic air.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good read

    I've never read this story before, and I admittedly had some trouble following the storyline off and on, but overall, it's pretty good book if you don't mind wading through the broken conversations and lost ideas.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2003

    Henry James: pompous blathering extraordinaire

    It's not the worst thing I've ever read, to be sure; but it's far from the best. To begin with, James' style is convoluted to an unnecessary degree, making it sometimes a labor to wade through a sentence that a more straightforward author -- Dickens, say -- could have expressed in half as many words. James' characters are almost uniform in voice: one may observe immediately that Douglas, the narrator, and the governess all speak in very much the same manner. The story drags, and the ending is hardly worth having disentangled so much parenthetical confusion to arrive at (James seems to think it a mark of great literacy to express 90% of his story in dependant clauses between commas -- between other dependant clauses between other commas...). In short, there are better books in both the category of Classics and the category of Horror. In the former category, I would recommend anything whatsoever by Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost is rather amusing, for instance); in the latter category, I would recommend several works of Stephen King's (The Dark Half, The Shining, Skeleton Crew...). There is nothing wrong with Henry James, I'll admit -- but that's a poor compliment, and little reason to buy a novel, eh?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2002

    The Screw Was Turned A Bit Too Hard. . .

    To fully understand this book, a lot of outside-source comprehension is needed. I bought it for a quick read, but found out I made a mistake. It's power and complete insanity was too much to handle for a one-night-read. So I threw it on the ground and went to bed. Upon waking up I stepped off the bed only to slip on the book and end up with a bed headache. When trying to read the rest, I found the pain was too unbearable. I guess it was just bad luck. If you want a classic horror story, this is a good read. . . I guess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Anoomys

    Not much of a ghost story but good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2009

    Not A Ghost Story

    Based upon its "classic" status I assumed I was going to be in for a treat when I decided to read The Turn of the Screw. Instead, I became bogged down in a surprisingly short but long winded novel. As I continued to read, it became extremely difficult to finish a single sentence, let alone an entire page. It was, by today's standards, not worthy of being called a ghost story, and with the exception of a few creepy moments, overly dramatic. The novel is incredibly dense, too dense for just a recreational read. If you are looking for a good Halloween novel or just a good scary story, leave this book in the warehouse where it belongs.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    very much of its time, but not much today

    Much ado about absolutely nothing. It may have created and sustained tension and horror when it was written but now it is mostly belabored, overextended prose. James adds a whole new meaning and depth... to the words verbose and prolix. It is said that his reputation went downwards immediately after death. This story is one good reason why.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    THE HOUSE OF THE GHOST

    This book from the beginning was a confusing book you have this lady who comes in from another place to discover that their are ghost living in this house and the housekeeper tries to avoid it, but eventually she finds out. While i was reading this book it had me on my toes and the more i read the more i got into it this is byfar the best book i read this semester and i am not exaggerating about it the story line was like this movie i had seen called The Others. This is enjoyable to read too. I would recommend it to everybody who likes scary stories about ghost.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    WOW!!!!!!!!

    Everybody you have to read this book this is the best book that i have read this whole semester. When i say suspense i mean suspense while i was reading it felt like my chest was going to pop out. Here you have these people living at this estate and what!!! (Ghosts)and more (ghosts) trust me you will enjoy this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2002

    This is an awsome ghost story

    The Turn of the Screw is a fascinating ghost story of terror.Its played out against the background of an English estate and the characters that now live at the estate,and the evil ones that have died.It is a combination of suspense and evil that keeps you wanting to know more about the characters.I would recommend this book to anyone interested in ghost stories.It,at times,is not an easy read but will keep you entertained to the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2001

    Great Read!

    This book is a complex and captivating mystery which completely challenges even the brightest of minds. The structure and depth of the story is astonishing. This is not an easy read nor a light one, but it is surely worth the time it takes to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2001

    A Lot of Interpretation Required

    I read this book for class simply because my teacher reccomended it, saying it was a ghost story. However, the concept of spirits in this novel was overpowered by the great amount of interpretation needed to fully comprehend it. Henry James often makes subtle references to sexuality, and they are difficult to detect. The conclusion to the book is awful, yet the beginning leaves a mysterious effect on the reader. If you want to read a book that has many themes, hidden meanings, and symbolism, I recommend The Turn of the Screw.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2000

    A captivating treasure!

    This short novel is an amazing tale which is a twist to the mind. It will bring out the best curiousity in you as it releases a horrifying truth. I definitey recommend this book to ALL readers who are patient and enjoy a complex and exciting mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2000

    This book is worth reading!!

    I think that this book was well worth reading. I was able to pick out some good symbols and at least 3 themes from this book. I liked the character who was the governess. She kind of played the angelic portion while the ghosts, if you will, played the part of the devil. This novel was a classic case of good vs. evil. I enjoyed it very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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