The Portrait of a Lady tells the compelling and ultimately tragic tale of a beautiful young American woman's encounter with European sophistication. Set principally in England and Italy, we follow Isabel Archer's fortunes as a variety of admirers vie for her hand. Her choices will be crucial, and she is not wanting for advice, whether from the generous-spirited Ralph Touchett or the charming but rootless Madame Merle...
Public Domain © and (P)1996 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
I didn't realize this book was abridged when I bought it; I just liked the audio sample of Elizabeth McGovern reading it. At first, when I figured out that it was abridged, I was annoyed. I never listen to abridgments! However, for this book, it actually worked out just fine. It is hard to trust whoever is editing it down, but I felt like I got the right amount of story without it getting laborious. The characters were sharp and clear and held my interest for 5 or 6 hours. I don't think I would have found 23 hours NEARLY so worthwhile or enjoyable!!
"Intriguing but lacking"
I obviously lack a certain understanding when it comes to James' work. After listening to this book (which is brilliantly read and engaging) I found myself in an absloute loss to understand what the hell happened. The protagagonist Isabel Archer is just impossible to understand and in the end I found myself feeling quite distant from her. This happened to me when I read Washington Square as well and may be a personal fault I expect. Anyway fans of Henry James will definately enjoy this, people coming to him afresh...be warned, nothing will be quite so straightfoward or happy.
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