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The Portrait of a Lady | [Henry James]

The Portrait of a Lady

When Isabel Archer, a young American woman with looks, wit, and imagination, arrives in Europe, she sees the world as "a place of brightness, of free expression, of irresistible action". She turns aside from suitors who offer her their wealth and devotion to follow her own path.
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Publisher's Summary

The Portrait of a Lady is the most stunning achievement of Henry James' early period - in the 1860s and '70s, when he was transforming himself from a talented young American into a resident of Europe, a citizen of the world, and one of the greatest novelists of modern times. A kind of delight at the success of this transformation informs this masterpiece.

When Isabel Archer, a young American woman with looks, wit, and imagination, arrives in Europe, she sees the world as "a place of brightness, of free expression, of irresistible action". She turns aside from suitors who offer her their wealth and devotion to follow her own path. But that way leads to disillusionment and a future as constricted as "a dark narrow alley with a dead wall at the end". In one of the most moving conclusions in modern fiction, Isabel makes her final choice.

(P)2008 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (37 )
5 star
 (10)
4 star
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3.9 (15 )
5 star
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Story
4.2 (14 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Karen Vancouver, BC, Canada 04-26-09
    Karen Vancouver, BC, Canada 04-26-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    190
    27
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    FOLLOWING
    4
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    Overall
    "Bleak and believable"

    Beautifully read, but oh so bleak. You have to love James to love this one. I like James, and liked this.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia Marino Buffalo, NY USA 11-09-09
    Patricia Marino Buffalo, NY USA 11-09-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
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    16
    5
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    "Complex and absorbing"

    Listening to this audio book was one of the great literary experiences of my life. Like most of James's novels it is complex; but once I got absorbed in the story I was completely hooked. Wanda McCadden's reading is phenomenal.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States 03-30-14
    Melissa Waxhaw, North Carolina, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"
    Would you listen to The Portrait of a Lady again? Why?

    Probably. It's a very detailed book and explains the characters' motives and thought processes so thoroughly, yet without taking you out of the story in the least, that you feel very connected to everything going on. Some people find this a drawback in James' work but I find it a highlight. This sort of exposition makes the story much more realistic and connectable.
    With so much detail, rich characters, great dialogue and an engaging story, I could definitely see myself re-reading this in future.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The storyline between Ralph and Isabel.


    Which character – as performed by Wanda McCaddon – was your favorite?

    Ralph.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. The pacing is very good.


    Any additional comments?

    Wanda McCaddon's performance is quite excellent in many aspects but she does have a difficult time maintaining separate voices for each character sometimes and will slip even in a conversation between only two characters. It can be slightly confusing from time to time but I would still recommend her as she's good with conveying the right emotional tone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Greenlee 05-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    6
    2
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    "Horrible Narrator"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I couldn't tell you if this was a good book as the narration is so poor I have not been able to get past the first chapter and I couldn't understand the narrator. Where did you find this woman!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Henry James again?

    Maybe, with a good narrator


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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