Regular price: $31.50

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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' The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory.

Isabel Archer is a young American woman swept off to Europe in the late 19th 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' 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.

©2017 John Banville (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

John Banville honors Henry James in devising an elegant continuation of “The Portrait of a Lady”

First, there is an excellent review of “Mrs. Osmond” by Caryl Phillips in The New York Review of Books, November 23, 2017. Audible might put a link to it on its website.

I do enjoy John Banville’s exquisite writing, and was wary of listening to it on the audio book, but found that the narrator did an excellent job of letting the language spool out, while articulating the differences in characters. As in the James novel, most of the narrative comprises Isabel’s interior thoughts. Slowly, Banville reveals how Isabel comes to wrest control for her destiny out of the hands of her husband, while leaving her next steps unresolved. For readers of Portrait of a Lady, this is compelling because despite our impatience with Isabel, we want her to succeed. Banville traces Isabel’s very human fits and starts of finding direction for herself, while leaving her future steps unresolved.
I found Mrs. Osmond’s narrative absorbing, and entertaining, despite wanting to scream at her occasionally. I enjoyed Banville’s finely drawn characterization of the other players, those from the James novel and some new ones.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Donna
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 11-20-17

Banville, what were you thinking?

Unless it was the reader who butchered this book it was John Banville who had a misstep in writing it. How could this great author write such a dull, repetitive novel, seemingly parodying James, not emulating him.
None of the Jamesian insight or narrative drive.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narrator Doesn't Do Banville Justice

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I certainly wouldn't recommend the audiobook; Banville is a very good writer, but the narrator just isn't up to his level. What was Random House Audio thinking when they paired Amy Finegan with him??

Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Finegan’s performances?

No.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful