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Famous for his dense novels like The Portrait of a Lady and The Golden Bowl, this 1898 novella stands out in Henry James’ oeuvre. The Turn of the Screw is the story of a governess who comes to look after two young siblings in the English countryside, and soon begins to suspect that her charges are communicating with ghosts of people who previously lived in the house. In this subtle, astute psychological thriller—which novelist Gillian Flynn once described as “deliciously elusive”—the reader is gripped by an eerie sense of dread and left wondering what, exactly, is real. The haunted and unsettling story has inspired numerous additional works of literature and adaptations for the stage and screen in the 125 years since its original publication. —Lucas Wittmann

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