Friday, May 28, 2010

(Book #19) Henry James - The Turn of the Screw

I hadn't intended on reading Henry James's 'The Turn of the Screw', but as I wandered around the library a couple weeks ago, I came upon it, and recalled a past episode of LOST where it was mentioned. It’s a short book, so I assumed it would be a fast and appropriate read to blast though before the final episode of LOST last Sunday. In the end it didn't turn out to be all that much related to the show or that fast of a read.

As I started reading the book, I couldn't help but realize how overly verbose literally every sentence was, taking a paragraph of extravagant words to illustrate what could have been related in a few words. This also resulted in much confusion and longer reading time. The book, having been written over a century ago, reflects the style and language of its time and tells of a governess charmed into overseeing two young children out in the country. Life on this estate is not as it seems, and the presence of mysterious spirits adds a "horror" element to the story. As the story plods along, the governess is slowly driven mad by her own paranoia. As her psychological state takes hold in her mind (hence the metaphorical screw-turning), I was expecting some sort of twist or great reveal after all the suspense and build up, but it never comes and I was left dissatisfied. My initial reaction was that I had missed the ending, that somewhere in the dialectical rambling was the key phrase and I just missed the reveal, but alas, the ending was completely left open to interpretation.

I suppose some might say that this ending might relate to LOST after all for the very reasons I just described, but to those hypothetical naysayers, I would strongly disagree! The finale was beautiful and a great culminations of 6 years of drama, action and character and in contrast I could not be sufficiently moved by Turn of the Screw's 150 pages of haughty melodrama.

Moving on…

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