Mrs. Osmond

Knopf. Nov. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780451493422. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493439. F
OrangeReviewStarIn Booker Prize winner Banville's bold continuation of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, Isabel Archer Osmond probes the extent of her resolve after the death of her beloved cousin Ralph Touchett. To attend Ralph's funeral in England, she leaves her home in Rome under threat from her husband that doing so will forever strain their marriage. She also departs with the knowledge that her stepdaughter Pansy is not the child of Gilbert Osmond and his deceased first wife but rather the offspring of Gilbert and the scheming Madame Merle. This revelation moves Isabel to set in motion an audacious plan to regain her freedom from Merle and Osmond. Along the way, several missteps expose her fragility and the limits of her worldly knowledge. Ultimately, Isabel's optimism, tempered with wisdom earned from experience, equips her to achieve a formidable victory over her antagonists, but at a price.
VERDICT Banville's brilliant 17th novel uncannily evokes James's limpid prose, deft plotting, and finely limned characterization to offer a credible sequel to one of the greatest novels ever written. Banville's genius is unquestionable.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing