‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James ****

As today is Halloween, I felt that it was fitting to post the review of my first creepy read of October.  Originally published in 1898, this is one of the spookiest ghost stories which I have read.  I really wanted to enjoy Henry James when I first picked up Washington Square a few years ago, but I sadly found it rather disappointing.  I am pleased to say, however, that I very nearly loved The Turn of the Screw.

‘The Turn of the Screw’

The storyline of this Gothic tale is relatively simplistic – a haunted country house – but James has made the most masterful use of the genre which I have read to date.  The entirety of the novella is beautifully written, and James has crafted the atmosphere in such a way that several passages sent shivers down my spine.  He has injected just the most amount of creepiness into the more unsettling parts of the tale, but it is not consistently scary throughout.  There is a sense of foreboding throughout, however, which builds as you read on.

I surprisingly did sleep well after putting the book down at its creepiest part, which I was rather pleased about, but I would – and will – highly recommend it to everyone.  I feel that The Turn of the Screw could serve as a marvellous introduction to classic ghost stories, novellas, and the classic and Gothic genres in general.  I urge you all, with Halloween in mind, to go and unearth this fabulous little story.

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