The Turn of the Screw

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What to expect

One of the world’s most famous intellectual ghost stories, The Turn of the Screw is a haunting tale of suspected supernatural possession. A governess at a country house claims that Miles and Flora, two orphaned children in her care, are being controlled by spirits for some evil purpose. No one else can see the ghosts, and the children themselves are silent. Are they being dominated by spectral forces, or are they hiding something? Is the governess simply paranoid, or is something else going on? With its ambiguous content and powerful narrative technique, the story challenges the listener to determine whether the unnamed governess is a reliable witness or a neurotic with an overheated imagination.

Critics Review

  • “A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale.”

    Oscar Wilde
  • “More than a horrific ghost story, The Turn of the Screw is an enigmatic and disturbing psychological novel that probes the source of terror in neuroses and moral degradation…The Turn of the Screw will continue to fascinate and to intrigue because James’ ‘cold artistic calculation’ has so filled it with suggestiveness and intentional ambiguity that it may be read at different levels and with new revelations at each successive reading.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature
  • “Both narrators are skilled and capable, and render James’ complex prose as clearly as it would be on the page, if not more so…just what a good audiobook should do.”

  • “Benjamin’s reading of the story, in a sweet British accent, is a calming contrast…Benjamin’s accent and emotional undercurrents are just right. This excellent production highlights James’ gorgeous prose and skill at creating and sustaining a mood of growing unease and horror.”

    Booklist (audio review)
  • “The reader’s mind is forced to hold to two levels of awareness: the story as told, and the story to be deduced.”

    Leon Edel, literary critic and Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer of Henry James
  • “This enigmatic, chilling, classic ghost story is especially well told in semivoiced narrations. Simon Vance presents the introductory material…Suiting her presentation well to James’ elaborate prose style, actress Vanessa Benjamin then relates [the governess’] experiences.”

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