I decided to read The Turn of the Screw after I heard Audrey Niffenegger describe it as her favourite book. Halloween also seemed the perfect time of year to read this classic, spooky story.
The book is set in an Essex country home and describes the life of a governess who is charged with looking after two children. She becomes increasingly disturbed by glimpses of strange ghostly figures and begins to suspect that the children may have something to do with them.
I’m afraid that I don’t share Niffenegger’s passion for this book. I found it very hard to read – the writing style meant it required a great deal of concentration and I had to continually re-read sections to understand exactly what was happening. His overuse of commas meant that the writing had an irritating, jumpy feel to it.
The complexity of the writing and the fact that the book is written from the viewpoint of a narrator who wasn’t present as events took place meant that I failed to connect with the characters. I was so distanced from events that I didn’t find it remotely scary.
I loved the ambiguity of the plot and in hindsight I can appreciate the cleverness of it, but I much prefer it when modern writers take aspects of this book and re-write them from a modern perspective.
I am really pleased that I read it, but it felt more like a chore than entertainment at the time.
Did you enjoy The Turn of the Screw?