Mrs. Osmond

Mrs. Osmond

A Novel

Book - 2017
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From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea , a dazzling and audacious new novel that extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory.

Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but naïve girl's experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, and--as Isabel finds out too late--cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond, whose connection to a certain Madame Merle is suspiciously intimate. On a trip to England to visit her cousin Ralph Touchett on his deathbed, Isabel is offered a chance to free herself from the marriage, but nonetheless chooses to return to Italy. Banville follows James's story line to this point, but Mrs. Osmond is thoroughly Banville's own: the narrative inventiveness; the lyrical precision and surprise of his language; the layers of emotional and psychological intensity; the subtle, dark humor. And when Isabel arrives in Italy--along with someone else!--the novel takes off in directions that James himself would be thrilled to follow.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780451493422
Branch Call Number: BANVILLE
Characteristics: 369 pages ; 22 cm


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Apr 19, 2018

A worthy sequel to Henry James' "Portrait." A labor of love that to a less gifted writer would have seemed extraordinarily difficult to accomplish. Banville's polished writing is a joy to read, from start to a fittingly enigmatic finish.

Apr 07, 2018

'Mrs. Osmond' continues the story of Isabel Archer Osmond in Henry James’s 'The Portrait of a Lady.' Banville captures the time and place, even very Jamesian writing, with a conclusion that suits what Mrs. Osmond becomes in her second chance at a meaningful life. Outstanding.

Dec 20, 2017

Fabulous, most memorable, extremely enjoyable.
Banville is an artist with language and his characters are drawn carefully enough that the reader will remember them. Highly praise!

abruzzo79 Dec 18, 2017


Nov 22, 2017

Banville had me hooked! His rich, descriptive narrative captivates, not as much in the narrative as in the alure of his invitation to BE in the setting. Whether looking at a painting or the dress of a lady or upon a meeting - the reader steps into the scene. He uses words like indubitably or athwart and uses commas in sentences that once went on for a quarter page. The mix of story, style, humor and inventiveness kept me delighting in each page. A remarkable writer!

Nicr Sep 27, 2017

Isabel Archer Osmond's exit from Gardencourt following the death of her cousin Ralph is the launching point for Banville's resumption of the Henry James heroine's story. She decides to buy her way out of her mercenary marriage; how she ransoms herself forms the plot of the novel.Gorgeous sentence upon gorgeous sentence, her story unfolds. There really is no finer stylist in contemporary fiction.


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