The Turn of the Screw
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One of the most disturbing ghost stories ever written, a tale of imagined danger and real dread
A young governess arrives at a secluded country estate, hired by the manor’s often-absent master to look after his orphaned niece and nephew. The young woman, a parson’s daughter, is immediately charmed by eight-year-old Flora—and Miles, two years older, seems like a perfect little gentleman when he is unexpectedly sent home from his boarding school.
But Miles’s steadfast refusal to reveal the cause of his expulsion is troubling, as are the staff’s whispered stories about the previous governess, Miss Jessel, and her lover, the mysterious valet, Peter Quint, both of whom are now dead. Most disturbing of all are the spectral figures wandering the grounds of Bly that only the new governess can see: a woman and a dark man who seem to take a special interest in Miles and Flora. No longer sure of what is real and whom she can trust, the governess desperately tries to hold on to her sanity and protect the innocent children from forces too sinister to name.
A literary masterpiece whose mysteries are open to endless interpretation, The Turn of the Screw has been haunting readers for more than a century.
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“No collection of spooky stories would be complete without this novella. It has it all: a big house, scary children, almost unbearable suspense and the horrible realization that something is wrong.” —The Independent
“The darkest, richest ghost story I’ve ever read . . . [The] story grows ever grimmer, ever scarier.” —The New Yorker
“A diabolical little work . . . I found it terrifying, and in the years since I finished it, the short text has continued to haunt me, sometimes returning without warning to my thoughts.” —Siri Hustvedt
Henry James (1843–1916) wrote some of the finest novels in the English language, including The Portrait of a Lady, The Golden Bowl, and The Wings of the Dove. The son of a prominent theologian and brother of the philosopher William James, he was born in New York but spent most of his life in England and became a British citizen shortly before his death. A master of literary realism, James is also well known for the groundbreaking novellas Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw.