The Turn of the Screw

  • by Henry James
  • Narrated by Emma Thompson, Richard Armitage - introduction
  • 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Emma Thompson lends her immense talent and experienced voice to Henry James' Gothic ghost tale, The Turn of the Screw.
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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What the Critics Say

"[Narrator] Emma Thompson gives the performance we expect from an Oscar winner. Most listeners don't think of Henry James as a passionate writer, but passion is there, and Thompson brings it out - and adds some of her own.... Thompson's reading will teach new listeners how to read the text - and perhaps James in general - and to understand why he's considered a genius." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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!

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- bookylady

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.

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- Peter Boyce

Book Details

  • Release Date: 15-03-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios