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The Turn of the Screw
This story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don't know what she's talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children's uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, The Turn of Screw generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers.
Their eyes never left him as they anxiously waited to hear the story which kept them anchored around the warmth of the fire on Christmas Eve. As expected, one of the guests unveils a haunting tale of dark supernatural entities that torment a young governess. These apparitions and their desire to have the souls of two innocent siblings provoke the governess to fiercely protect her pupils. Oddly, no other servant or occupant within the household sees these 'ghosts'. Is the governess really seeing these apparitions or is she merely dismissed to be delusional? Whether it is mere deception of the mind or twisted secrets, The Turn of the Screw gives off an air of suspense that lingers long after the last page is turned.--Submitted by Anonymous
This novel is a must; required reading, really, for you who find yourselves in a large, creaky house in, excuse the pun, the "dead of Winter". A fairly strong snowstorm helps, with the sad whistling sound of snow being driven by the wind through the branches. Sit back with refreshments of choice and just ride the writing like a magic carpet. It will immediately become like an addictive drug, leading you smoothly through the opening door of the adventure and closing it just as smoothly behind you, for there is no looking back on this one, no procrastination to "get to chapter 3 tomorrow" or "I'll read the rest of it on my trip". No, none of that. I actually recommend setting some time aside before even beginning it. Then away you will go and just try to stop, I dare you. This is some of the finest suspense writing ever. One of my personal all time favorites, and still, despite hundreds of other greats of the genre, one of the scariest I have ever read. The mood is like a Maine fog with razor sharp images wafting in and out of the sea smoke. Fog and sea smoke confined to a classic English Gothic house setting, that is. There is an excellent and fairly recent film that is loosely connected that will come to mind if you have seen it, the Title of which I shall not reveal here. You'll know what I'm talking about.... Have fun and prepare to be haunted by this story and a dedicated fan of his writing for the rest of your life. A true Classic.--Submitted by Hollywood Legend
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