I loved hearing this audio book read, and I think it is easier to listen to a book like this than read the print version.
He expresses the real emotion behind the characters and sets a good mood and tone for the book.
James' insight into human motivation for action or inaction. Also his beautiful use of language and his subtle humor.
Isabel's moments of self reflection are beautiful and often heartbreaking, especially near the end of the book when they are more pointed and more painful.
No, the book is quite long and dense. I preferred to listen, take a break, then continue or even re-listen to passages.
On the whole I liked John Wood's reading. He gets it. My one complaint is the way he handles young women's voices. They sound like mock children. This is especially a problem with this book as I feel the listener needs to somewhat fall in love with the protagonist to really understand the book.
Every ten years or so I read one of James' novels, hoping it will "take," but I'm still not a fan. His fiction is so dispassionate that I find myself baffled by his characters. The heroine, Isabelle, is more self-possessed and self-aware than any 23-year-old I've ever known. Men are so crazy for her that they follow her across oceans and continents--the last time I saw such single-minded devotion was in "There's Something about Mary". With all this going for her, why doesn't Isabelle smell a rat when the creepy Osmond starts courting her? Why isn't she clued in by the fact that none of her friends like him--and that his unfortunate daughter, Pansy, is reminiscent of a character out of the Ghastlycrumb Tinies? The last third of the novel is more engaging; there's a discursive section on Isabelle's attraction to Osmond (which John Wood reads beautifully), and I found myself more involved with the characters after I had some of their history. If you are a James fan, give this one a try. If you're hoping to be converted, I don't think this audiobook will do it.
One either reads Henry James, or not. If yes, this is a very good reading of the novel that is (arguably) his best.
This was the first book I read by Henry James. I wasn't blown away but I liked it. The mix of American & British characters drew me in to the story. The timeframe was never really established. I would have liked to have known more about that to get a better sense of the placement.
In all the books I have ever read, none have concluded with such an unsatisfying light of my imagination as this.
The performance was good and did the author justice.
Overall one of the most delightful renderings of fine literature. The omniscient viewpoint is dated but Henry James handles it with a skill that I envy as a writer.
I love Henry James. And I love The Portrait of a Lady. But this version by John Wood was too much for me. He does a fine job portraying the characters, but every few minutes he makes these swishing, gurgling noises in his mouth that were beyond my ability to ignore. Every now and then, it's like he saves up about half a cup of saliva (or maybe sputum?), swirls it around in his mouth, gargles it, and then swallows loudly for everyone to hear. Beware, if you are easily distracted like me, this is not the version to get of this amazing work of art!
No, just different.
Listening opens out the novel.
Ralf, he is the best of humans.
Henrietta Stackpool, so lacking in humour or irony. JW's performance captures her.
This is a very good book, supremely well read.