Title: The Turn of The Screw (Misteri Bly Manor)
Writer: Henry James
Translator: Lulu Wijaya
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama (2020)
Bought at: Gramedia.com (IDR 27k, bargain!)
Genre: classics, horror, gothic, ghost story
The second book that I’ve read for Spooktober is The Turn of the Screw, a classics horror novel that has inspired many movies and TV shows, including the recent one in Netflix, that loosely based on this book. The story revolved around a new governess who had accepted a job in Bly Manor, taking care of two children, Miles and Flora. The kids were orphans, and their bachelor uncle didn’t want to have anything to do with them, so governess was the answer.
Bly Manor was a beautiful house, a bit remote but still had some of its glory from the past. But, there’s darkness there too, lurking in the unused rooms, empty windows and ghost from the past. But the ghosts are not the metaphor – they were there, befriending the children.
When the governess found out about this, of course she was shock. Especially when she knew that the ghosts were her predecessors, former governess and employee of the house and had passed away for some time. She’s very suspicious of them and what they wanted from the children. Surely they were not some friendly ghosts who just wanted to entertain the kids?
With the very gothic atmosphere and scary premises, this book had potential to be a really solid horror book. But turned out, I didn’t feel the horror at all (and I’m a scaredy cat!!). I think because this book was written in a very old fashioned way, a perfect stereotype of classics, the scary/horror/ghostly vibes were lost to me. The sentences were long, with very flowery language, and the translation was not helpful – a bit stiff and quite all over the place. So instead of getting scared by the ghosts, I felt a bit tired reading the same sentence over and over again, just to make sense of everything. There were too many moral contemplations and the governess kept on thinking about the implications of the ghosts, instead of the ghosts themselves.
I think one thing that I like about this book is the description of Bly Manor. I can imagine clearly the gloominess of the place, and how it became a poor place for the children to live, especially because their lives already been gloomy.
However, this book is not my favorite Spooktober. In a way, I was a bit relieved because it’s not as scary as I thought it would be, but on the other hand, I was a bit bored, and expected to be scared anyway XD
I recommend The Turn of the Screw if you like:
- gothic houses
- eerie children
- ghost story, but not too scary
- long moral contemplation 😀