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Extended Audio Sample The Turn of the Screw Audiobook, by Henry James Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5 3.50 (107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry James Narrator: Anne Flosnik Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781400180370
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Widely recognized as one of literature’s most gripping ghost stories, this classic tale of moral degradation concerns the sinister transformation of two innocent children into flagrant liars and hypocrites. The story begins when a governess arrives at an English country estate to look after Miles, aged ten, and Flora, eight. At first everything appears normal, but then events gradually begin to weave a spell of psychological terror.

One night a ghost appears before the governess. It is the dead lover of Miss Jessel, the former governess. Later, the ghost of Miss Jessel herself appears before the governess and the little girl. Moreover, both the governess and the housekeeper suspect that the two spirits have appeared to the boy in private. The children, however, adamantly refuse to acknowledge the presence of the two spirits, in spite of indications that there is some sort of evil communication going on between the children and the ghosts.

Without resorting to clattering chains, demonic noises, and other melodramatic techniques, this elegantly told tale succeeds in creating an atmosphere of tingling suspense and unspoken horror matched by few other books in the genre. Known for his probing psychological novels dealing with the upper classes, James in this story tried his hand at the occult—and created a masterpiece of the supernatural that has frightened and delighted readers for nearly a century.

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sinead Fitzgibbon | 2/16/2014

    " This is the first Henry James I have read, and I have to admit that I didn't take to this book in the least. The language is turgid, even by 19th century standards, and the sentences convoluted. The story itself was weak - interminably drawn out histrionics, only for the tale to end abruptly and unsatisfactorily. None of the characters were sympathetic, and I found the protagonist/narrator intensely annoying. Tedious. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary: Harry Dresden's Love Slave | 2/12/2014

    " I found my mind kept wandering when I read this. At times I couldn't understand what was being said because there were so many extra words added into it for no apparent reason. I didn't find it especially scary. I did like it enough to try and read more Henry James thoughs. But if he is as wordy with all his other book, I probably won't get very far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evan | 2/11/2014

    " First book on pedophilia I've read. Pretty good. Pretty erotic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Moses Kilolo | 2/8/2014

    " Of it's own accord, I wold have loved this book better had I not gone into it with so many expectations. There is a lot of hype about it, and since its named as one of the best ghost stories ever told, I was very upbeat about it, and was indeed captured in the beginning. But soon the aura and excellence of the story was lost in the text, as I found it particularly hard to dig through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 2/8/2014

    " Two classic movies have been made about this book. I prefer the version called "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr. Be warned, its spooky. Scary spooky. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee | 1/31/2014

    " I liked it. I'd have liked it more without James' characteristic run-on sentence, stream-of-consciouness narration, but I love (and hate!) an intentionally confusing plot. As far as ghost stories go, I wouldn't rate this as particularly spooky, but it is a good, classic ghost story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/29/2014

    " great audio book version with that woman with the amazing voice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mr. Woodnal | 1/29/2014

    " I picked this up anticipating teaching it this fall to my high school students. This is my first time reading a James novel in its entirety, and the spooky mystery that surrounds the plot here had me hooked immediately once the plot began to unfurl. Admittedly, this happens a few chapters into the book, as James uses the nineteenth century conceit of having one character tell the story essentially through hearsay. The unnamed governess at the center the book relates an eerie experience presiding over two young children who appear to be under the influence of two ghostly characters that once worked at the grand estate called Bly where she now resides. The initial appearance of these apparitions is riveting as the reasons for their presence are immediately deemed sinister and dangerous. In the final chapters, the characterization takes some sharp turns, and while the climax in the final line of the story leaves far too much open to interpretation, I am looking forward to discussing with students what exactly the ending means, especially as it pertains to the governess and her experiences at Bly and her reliability as a narrator! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chinelo | 1/16/2014

    " I'm not a fan of this type of ghost story. I get that it's mysterious, and there's that whole "Did she see a ghost? Is she delusional?" vibe, but I was so confused I didn't even know what was going on until the last page. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianah | 1/9/2014

    " Was she nuts? Or were there really ghosts? Did she kill the kid in the end? Sooo confused. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorna | 12/23/2013

    " creepy creepy creepy but magnificent. complex characters and complex plotline but the overall effect is not confused or muddled at all. just tingly! not one for people who love mess or gore, though i still wouldn't recommend reading it alone... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 12/11/2013

    " This was more of ghost story than a mystery. It is scary, but it just didn't suit my mood for a pre-Christmas mystery. James's style distracted from the story at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 11/28/2013

    " I'm working my way through the classics and found this book one of the best. It really plays with one's mind as we never know the truth of the events as they occur. James is a great writer; if only I could write as well! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob Skrezyna | 11/27/2013

    " I read this every October! The story is strong, if wordy. Strangely, I've never been a fan of the style choices James uses - too many thoughts in one sentence - but I love the book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clea | 11/26/2013

    " A little bit too much for my tiny brain... didn't evoke the same feelings as The Woman in Black, and left me frustrated, although I'm pretty sure that was the author's intent. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ernie Bornheimer | 11/20/2013

    " This was an ebook (possibly pirated). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly Schlaegel | 10/26/2013

    " My bookclub choice this month "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 10/20/2013

    " creepy and short, just how I like my ghost stories! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Balfour | 10/17/2013

    " A good ghost story with a not entirely unexpected ending, albeit unfulfilling. Although had it been done any other way, there wouldn't be as much to ponder. This would be a great book club discussion. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christopher Tang | 10/16/2013

    " Not a big fan of this honestly. After it was referenced in Lost I sought it out but really this is something that is perhaps too verbose for my modern palate to be holding me in suspense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily Lovitch | 10/16/2013

    " I feel like there was a lot of juicy subtext going on that I didn't pick up because the actual wording of the story was ridiculously verbose and convoluted. I might re-read this in the future just to try to get the full experience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara | 9/19/2013

    " For such a short novella, this felt awfully long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hawkgrrrl | 9/18/2013

    " I like a creepy story. This had all the right elements, but the suspense was a little too drawn out, and the payout not quite what I hoped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah Fraser | 9/10/2013

    " Loved the gothic feel and the idea of the story, but found it hard to get into the old-fashioned writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maureen | 9/5/2013

    " The Turn of the Screw is just classic. So psychological. Such an enigmatic ending. Must reading I think. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louise | 9/3/2013

    " She is the crazy one and suffocated Miles. Henry James uses too many words and commas in a sentence. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chad | 9/1/2013

    " While it had its moments, overall this book was a bore. Towards the end, it showed lots of promise and I was ready to give it 3 stars, but the ending totally blew it. Perhaps its unfair to judge classics by today's standards, but I just wasn't impressed by the writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Audra | 7/25/2013

    " Interesting. Not an easy read. I am torn between 3 stars and 4. I was not a huge fan until our book club discussion, which included lots of debating and speculation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 2/11/2013

    " I love this book. Yes, the sentences can be long. Yes, James' vocabulary can be challenging. But the prose flows beautifully, and slipping into the mind of the Governess is a fascinating, and sometimes frightening, experience. Not a light read, but one well worth it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Iván | 12/29/2012

    " No es que el libro sea malo, lo que pasa es que yo no soy un lector adecuado para ese tipo de prosas tan, pero tan pausadas. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonya Higgd | 12/19/2012

    " I was really looking forward to reading this book. I was left a little disappointed. It didn't give me the impression of a ghost story and the ending was very strange. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roberta | 11/23/2012

    " I really love this kind of stories, and I was looking forward to re-read it in its original language. Obviously I like it better than the italian translation. I think it's a must-read novel for everyone, even if you're not into fantastic or gothic tales "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kana | 10/18/2012

    " Difficult read but well worth it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mandy | 10/1/2012

    " It wasn't scary. It was too vague for it to be scary. It left more questions and at times confused me. That doesn't equal scary for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carrie | 8/26/2012

    " A very long drawn out and boring story. I definitely missed why it is a classic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ned | 8/4/2012

    " Weird book. It stays in your thoughts kind of like 6 Sense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Woollyragwort | 7/28/2012

    " Really good from what I remember... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerstin Olcott | 7/1/2012

    " It's a psychological thriller from the turn of the century. It wasn't my favorite. Not enough actually happened for me. The descriptions are somewhat intriguing but I was disappointed by the ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clarissa | 6/11/2012

    " If you liked Charlotte Perkins Gilmans' "The Yellow Wallpaper," you'll like this. I sure did! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Haylee Frohlich | 4/18/2012

    " A pretty good story--and really creepy at times. A classic creepy/haunted kid tale that must've inspired the current genre. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 3/26/2012

    " Pretty good. Read fall of 2005. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amelia Elizabeth | 1/26/2012

    " I had to read this for school. It's the perfect book to apply all these literary theories too, but it left me really confused. It could be that I sped read it to finish it in less than a week. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hil | 11/29/2011

    " I'm not really sure what actually happened at the end of all that...I think I missed something "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adam Faux | 11/8/2011

    " I honestly didn't enjoy this book. I found it really hard to follow what was going on, it wasn't scary at all, which I think was because I was spending more time trying to figure out what was going on than actually getting into the book. Meh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Mckinnon | 9/1/2011

    " Perfect reading for Halloween as ghosts have their season and things go bump in the night. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 8/20/2011

    " An okay ghost story, though I can't relate to the black and white good vs. evil worldview presented here. I also found it very annoying! That the characters were so excitable and emotional! With so many exclamation points! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sonya Higgd | 8/3/2011

    " I was really looking forward to reading this book. I was left a little disappointed. It didn't give me the impression of a ghost story and the ending was very strange. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miranda | 7/14/2011

    " The writing is ornate and poetic, but not so much so that it makes the text too difficult to understand, only just enough that it gives it a dreamlike quality. So far, I am loving this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tara Isabella | 7/10/2011

    " Not quite high-octane-nightmare fuel - perhaps "slow-burning-coal-fire-nightmare-fuel." I think I'll come down on the "insane governness" side of the criticism divide - but sleep with the lights on nonetheless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Toya | 7/7/2011

    " Great classic mystery. Suitable for high school students. Throughout the book the author makes the reader wonder what is really going on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 7/6/2011

    " The very wordy, 19th century language makes this read a little difficult. But its a great psychological thriller or ghost story depending on how you see it. Not long. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Adriana | 7/5/2011

    " La mayoría de la historia va así, la institutriz sabía que los niños sabían que ella sabía lo que ellos sabían, pero todos pretendían no saber nada. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ana | 6/27/2011

    " Lo leí para la escuela. No me pareció mal.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Polly | 6/25/2011

    " An exercise in, if I may use such a phrase, and, indeed, I must, since, having exhausted my mind in the search for an alternative description, and having arrived at no other more apt term, the usage of commas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 6/20/2011

    " Much better than I had anticipated, especially the ending! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karensi | 5/22/2011

    " This book scared me to death. Made the mistake of reading it at night, on my own on Halloween. Slept with the light on for a week after that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 5/20/2011

    " Thought I had better read this after finishing "Florence and Giles" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal | 5/18/2011

    " Very interesting story. This is another story in which the reader is allowed to conjecture as to what really happened. The story is vague enough to allow the reader to come up with many conclusions, creating another "turn of the screw". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 5/14/2011

    " If you love mystery and slightly chilling fiction - this is it. One of those books that I couldn't put down, but had me hiding underneath the covers! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charles | 5/10/2011

    " I'm working my way through the classics and found this book one of the best. It really plays with one's mind as we never know the truth of the events as they occur. James is a great writer; if only I could write as well! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 esterb | 5/8/2011

    " This clas­sic ghost story is a delight to read. With­out “spe­cial effects” and unbe­liev­able telling James has writ­ten an intrigu­ing hor­rific plot that sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the last sen­tence. And what a last sen­tence it is: total shock! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 5/2/2011

    " One of my favorite ghost stories (or are they really 'ghosts'?) The whole novella is filled with psychological ambiguity - are the angelic children really evil or is the caring governess insane? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ashley | 4/30/2011

    " This was so dumb. I'm glad I wasn't around during this time period because ghost stories were too boring and wordy. By the time it got to the climax I was totally over it. Just lame and confusing. I'm gonna go eat some cheesecake now and forget what this was about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 4/28/2011

    " James has a somewhat convoluted way with a sentence, but once I got with the rhythm, it was enjoyable. I've seen just about every big and little screen adaptation of the story, so it was about time I read the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steff | 4/28/2011

    " This novella is very good and very creepy, and it only gets more so the more times you read it. The creepiest part comes when you ask yourself whom you can trust... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mimifoote | 4/26/2011

    " Strange book - sudden and suspensful ending. I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 4/22/2011

    " I'm not sure I understand the ending... All of that for him just to die???? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Misty | 4/18/2011

    " A very interesting read. The ending seemed rather sudden and unexpected. I enjoyed the blurring between reality and imagination--that it was never certain whether ghosts were really appearing or not. "

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About the Author
Author Henry James

Henry James (1843–1916), American novelist, short-story writer, and man of letters, was born in Washington Place, New York, to a family of distinguished philosophers and theologians. He attended schools in New York, Boston, and throughout Europe, where he later settled. A major figure in the history of the novel, he is celebrated as a master craftsman who brought his great art and impeccable technique to bear in the development of abiding moral themes.

About the Narrator

Anne Flosnik, a seasoned audiobook narrator, has over four hundred titles to her credit and several awards and distinctions, including three AudioFile Earphones Awards, a USA Today Recommended Listening, and the American Library Association’s Special Services to Children Award. She has twice been an Audie Award finalist. She is an accomplished actress with lead credits on stage, on television, and in commercials and voice-overs.