Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1/5)

The back says (actually, I borrowed this from the library and as it was a cloth covered edition, so I got the synopsis from The narrator is a young governess, sent off to a country house to take charge of two orphaned children. She finds a pleasant house and a comfortable housekeeper, while the children are beautiful and charming. But she soon begins to feel the presence of intense evil.

I say: This was painful to read. Just plain painful. It was so boring that this was actually my second attempt. I got as far as 10 pages a few months ago and just put it aside –

I should have left it there.

The writing was pretentious, for lack of a better word, the story uninspiring and the characters a damn nuisance. The whole thing takes itself too seriously for my liking; it’s as if Henry James is doing everything in his power to convince us that this is a scary story and that there might be some evil lurking about. However, I was so blinded and bored by the hyperbole I often forgot what the hell I was supposed to be reading about.

So. Much. Agony.

I was seriously counting down the pages during the entire read, and if it wasn’t for it being on my 100 Classics Challenge I wouldn’t have gotten further than the initial 10 pages.

Now, I know that this is considered to be one of the greatest ghost stories ever (or something to that effect) and that James wanted the reader to wonder whether or not there was evil about, or if the governess was mad, and what the deal was with the seemingly angelic kids. I honestly couldn’t care less. I just wanted it to end, and when it did it was with a giant WTF!?


That ending…

Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I can’t believe I cared enough to even go ‘huh?’


This is the worst thing I’ve read all year, and easily makes it into my worst reads ever in life.

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