Hey and happy Saturday!
I usually don’t blog on weekends, but why not try something new! I’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday night
I read a book today, and in my mind I imagine you would like to know what I thought about it. You see, I rented the movie “The turn of the screw” and thought: “that’ll be great fun – watching a ghost story alone on a Saturday evening”. The movie cover was amazing, and that Downton Abbey girl is playing the main character, so it’s safe to say I was looking forward to watching it. Of course I’m an over excited reader, so I always read the book before I watch the movie, and so I started reading and finished the book this afternoon.
I was about 20 pages into the story when I realized I had seen the movie before. That kind of killed some of the excitement. As I read on, I noticed I remembered every single thing from the movie. So… I read the book!
Title: The turn of the screw
Author: Henry James
First published: 1898
Publisher: Penguin Classics
A young governess is sent to a great country house to care for two orphaned children. To begin with Flora and Miles seem to be model pupils but gradually the governess starts to suspect that something is very wrong with them. As she sets out to uncover the corrupt secrets of the house she becomes more and more convinced that something evil is watching her.
I am very into old ghost stories, esp. those located in England/Ireland/Scotland. I have read an amazing amount of collected ghost stories books, and I’m a bit surprised The turn of the screw had been overlooked.
The story is very much like any other ghost story from the late 19-century. An old mansion, a governess, a woman in black and some creepy children. That being said, it’s also a complex story that can be interpreted into a psychological tale (I read somewhere). I decided to just read it as a normal ghost story, but I can see that some people might want to give the story more depth.
There are some interesting characters in this book (or maybe just one). I was very fond of Miles – one of the scary siblings. He was so sweet, but also so scary at the same time, and he really made the story interesting. He was portrayed so beautifully by Henry James. I noticed Miles always managed to creep me out even though he was just smirking or saying something very ordinary. The scenes with Miles is perhaps what makes this book worth reading (in my opinion).
The governess was a bit dull and perhaps a bit hysterical. She jumped to conclusions as soon as anything happened. I know that this is a short story, but I do like ghost stories to leave out a bit of the mystery for the reader to figure out (even though that means more pages). Other than this she is a main character, and kind of worked as a detective in this story. She’s the one who figures things out so to say.
The other characters were a bit plain, and I didn’t take too much notice of them. There were maids and ghosts (or horrors as they are called in the book), a wealthy uncle and a narrator, but they were kind of over shadowed by Miles and the governess.
TO SUM IT ALL UP
Henry James is known to write beautiful books. His language is spotless and aesthetically beautiful. He is thorough with his characters and story lines, and I guess you read his books because they are classics, not because you want a fast paced, action packed book. This all apply to The turn of the screw as well. It was not very exciting, but it was OK. The story was pretty straight forward, and since it was so short I never really got into it.
If you want a classic ghost story, I guess you could read this book. Just don’t expect to be super-scared by it. Go watch the movie though, because that’s pretty awesome!