Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 306 Greatest Books #111 - The Turn of the Screw

The next book up on my reading through the 305 Greatest Books is The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. You can find this book on the Sybervision Book List.

Looking back at a previous Henry James book I had read, The Portrait of a Lady, I mentioned that James was an easy author to read and the story simple to follow. Not so much this time. In this story, James had a tendency to write these really long run-on sentences the entire way through the book. I thought perhaps this would change because the story started off as a narrative by the person who is writing the framing story, supposedly James. The majority of the book though is based on a diary by a woman who the story happened to. The writing is exactly the same in both instances, with these long, drawn out sentences, all with quite a few commas in them. Here is one for instance: "The homage of which they were so lavish succeeded, in truth, for my nerves, quite as well as if I never appeared to myself, as I may say, literally to catch them at a purpose in it." This style is rather difficult to follow at times. Other than that though the book was rather interesting. It is about a woman who serves as a teacher for two students in a house which happens to be haunted by the former governess and the former handyman. The ending was rather cryptic though and the language made the entire book feel cryptic, like I wasn't entirely sure what was going on. But after reading a synopsis I think that I understood it pretty well as I was going. So, in summary, an intriguing story but a difficult one to understand.

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