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Publisher's Summary

Perhaps the most brilliantly successful ghost story ever written, The Turn of the Screw creates a terrifyingly believable impression of innocent children so corrupted by evil that they remain deceptive pictures of innocent beauty. Their governess must struggle alone to confront and exorcise the demons that she believes possess their souls....

Public Domain (P)2015 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Turn of the Screw

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent all around!

I read The Turn of the Screw in middle school and have always remembered it as one of the most memorable and haunting things I've ever read. I've been meaning to re-read it for a long time now so I jumped at the opportunity to listen to it as an audiobook and was not disappointed. It was just as haunting and thrilling as I remembered. Great gothic fiction if you like that sort of thing. I have to admit I'm not 100% sure I know what happened in the end but for me that only adds to the intrigue and suspense. But there are many reviews of the novella itself so I'll go ahead and address the narration.

I was originally looking at the Emma Thompson version but was dissuaded by a reviewer who mentioned they preferred Penelope Rawlins because Emma Thompson reads the main character as the older woman telling the story despite the fact that the most of the events of the book occur when the main character is young and naive such that the more mature rendition comes across as unnatural and distracting. Despite no reviews of this version that I could find, I decided to take a chance on it and I'm glad I did. Penelope Rawlins was fantastic, handling multiple characters with ease and delivering nuanced emotions and reactions, always adding to the suspenseful, eerie atmosphere. As with the best narrators and actors, she became invisible so that the story shone through. This version also does an excellent job handling the complex frame narration style by having an additional male narrator - Ben Elliot, who is also fantastic - read the introductory framework. The effect is a seamless transition.

I listened every chance I got over the span of 3 days and was fully absorbed each time I listened and disappointed when I had to press pause - a feat many audiobooks fail to pull off. Highly recommended!

17 people found this helpful

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19th Century English Ghost Story (and much more!)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James was published in 1898 and is described as a ghost story by Audible. In reality it is a Victorian era written ghost / mystery / psychological mind-bender novella that is a classic of English literature. If one reads it with that in mind it will be appreciated by many more people. It is NOT a 'jump out of your skin with fright' type thriller a la Steven King. And most folks who read Henry James agree that he needed better punctuation (meaning he could have used a lot more 'periods' and a lot fewer commas). Nevertheless, if one just floats through it, it's easy to discern why it is called the classic ghost story of all time. A young woman who accepts a governess position at a rural, isolated, Gothic style English estate, where she is in charge of two orphans, a young boy and his younger sister. Only there is a history there, Owned by a benefactor uncle who lives in London and does not want anything to do with raising children, there was a previous young governess who had an affair with another employee there and both have since died. As the story goes they appear (or do they?) to the governess, and they influence or maybe indwell (or maybe not) the sinister (or innocent?) children. It's a plot for the ages, right down to the end. And Penelope Rawlins is what five-star performances are all about. Her English accent for young and old, male and female, and situational inflections in the story gives all the more credence to the intensity of the whole affair.

1 person found this helpful

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great reading for an ambiguous story

be prepared to interpret the tale as you wish. are there ghosts? is the governess going mad or are the children possessed? Fun to put your own stamp on this chestnut.

1 person found this helpful

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What did I just listen to?

Not scary at all and it was hard to follow what exactly was going on. The way it ended was abrupt and disappointing. Do not recommend.

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A classic mystery and suspenseful story.

So I really was disappointed in this book and I really tried to enjoy it. Honestly the story could have been great or was great at one time, but the prose of Henry James through the story is what made it difficult to enjoy. His writing has an elegance and poetic style to it and his writing, I believe, definitely reflects the time the book was written. Unfortunately it was to the extreme that reading or listening to the book became more like homework and tended to lose me in the parts where the Governess was in her own self dialogue. Now the parts where the character's were in dialogue with each other was great, but even then some of the lines were creepy as words back then took on a different meaning then they do now. I also forget that the Victorian idea of Horror is a lot different than we know now and this book was more like a suspense then anything. I just could never figure out why everything was happening. As for the narrator's they were good and their voices were enjoyable and definitely fit the time period, but the only thing is when the voice of the Governess was being narrated she always seemed panicked even when the story was saying she was laughing or surprised. Then sadly the ending itself was just so abrupt and left open because it was hard to follow through the whole story and the reasoning behind everything. I think I was just born in the wrong time frame to enjoy this book fully. It did keep my interest though and I did rate the story 3 stars which is average for me. I just would have liked a little more creep factor and a little easier time understanding the authors prose.

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Not sure what I expected

A good read, well written, and I totally get the appeal. However, it just wasn't my favorite. As much as I love "horror" and appreciate classics and the values they teach, this one just didn't do it for me. I will likely forget the premise as time passes and no part of the story really stood out to me as jarring or memorable. There were no major lessons or takeaways that made me think or will keep me up at night. I really wanted to like it, but it just fell flat for me.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A good listen for the most part

It was a good listen, I liked the voices but found the language to be hard to stay interested in sometimes.

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I am confused..

I listened becasue the movie is coming out . I hope the movie is better. I struggled to finish.