The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – Audiobook Review

I am so confused. Has anyone else read this book and come out equally confused? Why are most Classics written in a way that is exceptional and yet makes you think and think long after the book is over, because we don’t have straightforward answers in the book?


I listened to the audible audiobook version of this Classic gothic horror story, narrated by the brilliant Emma Thompson.


Here are some of my thoughts on this book.

Things I liked about the book:

  1. The narration! I’m so glad I picked up the audiobook version of the book, otherwise I would’ve clearly lost the plot with the long winded sentences! And Emma Thompson just rocks it!
  2. The description and the setting of the place where the events take place. The atmosphere itself feels so melancholic and eerie and I kept wondering, who leaves children in places like this? The house at Bly completely spooked me out

Here are things that I didn’t like so much:

  1. I can’t make up my mind about the ending of the book. Because I can’t make up my mind about the real evil. That was probably what the author had intended when he wrote this book, but it frustrated me because I reached the end of the book and was like, what?! That can’t be the end!!
  2. The language or the sentence construction. Gosh, classics are hard to read. It helped immensely that I listened to the audiobook version, because the lead character explains herself in every emotion, in every scene with very wordy sentences. For example, she would think something like (probably not exact words from the book, but you get the gist) – ‘And when I saw what I saw, and what I felt was what I hadn’t felt ever in my life, prior to this particular moment’ – I mean, just get on with it already! 😀 My thoughts were that, either the author intended to give depth to the Governess’s extreme emotions, or the author intended to show us about the hysterical psychosis of the Governess, if she had to convince even herself, in such a long winded manner
  3. I thought there was just too much left out in the way of explanations. The matter of the ghosts being ambiguous is fine but I couldn’t understand what happened to the Governess after the incident, there wasn’t any information about the uncle who is the guardian, or what exactly had happened to the previous caretakers, no description about any other children in the village or about the other housekeepers, the explanation on why Miles was expelled from school didn’t seem clear or satisfactory to me.. all of this left me feeling quite incomplete after finishing the book

So I think overall, I wasn’t too happy with this book. It’s a great Classic and I’m glad I picked up the audiobook version and I’m glad that I can say I’ve read the book and can probably take some inspiration from it when I need to describe something eerie, but otherwise, I felt as if this book wasn’t for me. Just my thoughts on it😊

To the readers:

  • Have you read this book? Were you left feeling as confused and unsatisfied as I was?
  • Who according to you was the real evil in the house? The governess, the ghosts or the children themselves?
  • Are there any other horror books that you would highly recommend to read?

2 thoughts on “The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – Audiobook Review

  1. Some of the older classics, particularly those written in the 19th century, can be difficult reading solely because of the archaic sentence structures. I’ve found, too, that’s it can be better managed on audio so I’ve tried to collect many in that format. Haven’t read this one so I can’t help with your questions. Enjoyed reading the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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