When a governess is hired to care for two children at a British country estate, she begins to sense an otherworldly presence around the grounds. Are they really ghosts she's seeing? Or is something far more sinister at work?
Having performed in films based on some of the greatest works in literature - including Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V - Thompson is no stranger to the classics, and she lends a graceful eloquence to this moody, macabre story. Joined by listener favorite Richard Armitage, who performs the prologue, Thompson reinvigorates this psychological thriller of life, death, evil, and the unknown.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By bookylady on 23-03-16
A Classic Ghost Story But I'm Still None The Wiser
Any additional comments?
I have been confused by The Turn of The Screw for Years. Having read and seen several TV/film versions of this classic, gothic tale of ghosts and evil spirits I have never been able to decide whether the main protagonist (the governess) was insane, a hysteric or a young woman who was completely up against it ,trying to cope with two vulnerable children in a position of overarching responsibility that was foisted on her by an absent and irresponsible employer. So I decided to try listening to the story to see if I could pick up any clues that would help me come to a conclusion.
The story started really well with an authoratative performance from Richard Armitage in the prologue. But the bulk of the story, narrated very ably by Emma Thompson, just didn't 'do it' for me. I don't know why. I think Emma Thompson was perhaps miscast. The voice was a bit too mature and measured I think. The chilling fear and sense of dread and horror that Henry James sought to express in the narrative just didn't come across.
I'm still none the wiser about the outcome or whether the governess imagined it all. But perhaps that was James' intention? Leave them confused and wanting more? Who knows but perhaps someone could explain it all to me!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Peter on 09-08-16
Not a ghost story
What did you like most about The Turn of the Screw?
This book is an excellent way of experiencing the inner life of a person with severe mental problems
Who was your favorite character and why?
The present governess- the sole source of the hallucinations. She is delicate, unsure of herself, anxious and constantly alert for warped interpretations of the behaviour and words of others, in particular, the two children; left in charge with no help available. A sure setting for trouble.
What does Emma Thompson and Richard Armitage - introduction bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Brilliant. Emma's voice suggests the complexity of the tortured mind. The American pronunciation of enquiry jarred somewhat.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
All is well with the governess left in charge....until the ghosts start to appear.
Any additional comments?
The title, 'Turn of the Screw,' epitomises the gradual increase in pressure that this lady experiences. Dramatizations turn this tale into a ghost story. It really is a page from a book on psychiatry fleshed out. 'For example' 'what to look for' the book is saying. Henry James had a brother William James, the famous psychologist and philosopher. Surely, they would have discussed the incidents that are described to make sure that they were true to life. The whole book is seen through the eyes of the governess. Only she sees Peter Quint and Miss Jessell. In her position alone with children, this governess is dangerous.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Gillian on 16-03-16
Great, but Mightn't be the Best on Audible
I really, really love "The Turn of the Screw," so this is my third version from Audible, and it's hard to judge as is, as opposed to judging in comparison to the other two that I have.
Let's take as is:
Emma Thompson is fabulous, really brings her acting chops to play, and what can you say? The woman is a powerhouse!
But, and this is where you'll have to judge for yourself, she reads as an older woman. I realize that the story is of an older woman looking back, so I understand why this might be appropriate for the book, but the character at the time is a very, very young woman. She is at a loss, wondering, at times she's near out of her mind, so that is why I prefer the Penelope Rawlins version. Because, even though Ms. Thompson delivers a masterful narrative, the dialogue, the interactions sometimes ring false with her more mature tones, with her poise. The character lacks poise at that age, so it's quite odd to hear such control.
Further, one of the joys of the story is that you never quite know what's real--it's up to the reader to decide for him or herself what is doing the haunting: Evil? or the governess as the conduit, the interpreter of what she "sees." If you lean one way or the other, the end is such that, chances are, you'll still wind up leaning that way. It's every man for himself and I know of two no such people who wind up in entire agreement about what exactly is determining the story here. And that's a delight! It makes for wonderful discussions afterward.
But Ms. Thompson's delivery kind of makes it seem as though there actually is only one way of seeing the whole story, which takes a lot of the fun out of it. The dedication of the governess to seeing one end comes off as rather harsh, strident, monstrous even--it doesn't leave much room for questioning. ...bummer...
Still, gotta love it! A governess overly beguiled and bewitched. Ghosts. Perhaps. Young souls hanging in the balance. How could the stakes be higher?
Great listen, beautiful language, compelling plot, mesmerizing characters.
And if you've gotten the kindle version, come back and choose the Audible versions you'd like!
154 of 171 people found this review helpful
By Phyllis on 03-05-16
Wanted to Love it
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I was somewhat disappointed with this selection. I think I may have had too high an expectation. Emma Thompson, Gothic story, Henry James how could it not be fantastic? Something was just not quite right, still not sure what
Would you recommend The Turn of the Screw to your friends? Why or why not?
No, probably not. It was not very compelling. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and one of my standards is how well it holds my attention and I had to actively listen for this one to keep me engaged.
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
I think Emma Thompson's narration was an interpretation and unfortunately it missed the mark. At times it was too breathy and frantic, if trying to convey a sense of urgency the story should have conveyed without this added affectation. Other times it bordered on the pedantic, which is a shame because prior to this I would have thought I would have enjoyed Emma Thompson reading the phone book.
Could you see The Turn of the Screw being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
In the right hands it could be however this story is very much a psychological journey. Are the events of the story really happening or is this the overwrought imagination of an impressionable young woman?
Any additional comments?
I have found the narration of famous actors and actresses to be somewhat uneven. This would be an example of a miss, Kate Winslett and Mathilda would be an out of the park homerun. I really think I prefer the work of narrators who primarily do voice work, they enhance the story, the written word without eclipsing it.
21 of 25 people found this review helpful