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Mrs. Osmond

Mrs. Osmond


Mrs. Osmond

About the Book

In Mrs. Osmond, John Banville continues the story of Isabel Archer, the young protagonist of Henry James’s beloved The Portrait of a Lady. Eager but naïve, in James’s novel Isabel comes into a large, unforeseen inheritance and marries the charming, penniless, and—as Isabel finds out too late—cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond. Here Banville imagines Isabel’s second chapter telling the story of a woman reawakened by grief and the knowledge that she has been grievously wronged, and determined to resume her quest for freedom and independence. A masterly novel of betrayal, corruption, and moral ambiguity, Mrs. Osmond would have thrilled James himself.

Product Details

On sale: October 9, 2018
Page count: 384 Pages
ISBN: 9781101972892

Author Bio

John Banville, the author of seventeen novels, has been the recipient of the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. He lives in Dublin.


“Banville’s ability to channel James’s style and prose rhythms is astonishing. I can’t imagine anyone who could have done it better.” —Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times Book Review

“As impressive an act of stylistic channeling as anything I’ve read. . . . Like its source text, Mrs. Osmond investigates what happens when liberty runs up against those forces that would constrain it: personal history, secret plots, money, evil itself.” —Anthony Domestico, The Boston Globe

“A novel that is at once an epochal act of imitation, salutation and imagination.” —NPR
“A brilliant and beguiling novel on its own, and a reminder to us that not only does great literature endure, it engenders.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Something like a jazz improvisation on a classic song, or a new orchestration of earlier tunes and disharmonies.” —London Review of Books
“Banville is one of the best novelists in English. . . . Mrs Osmond is both a remarkable novel in its own right and a superb pastiche.” —Edmund White, The Guardian
“[A] modern classic . . . a striking imagined follow-up to Portrait of a Lady.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A brilliant feat of literary ventriloquism. . . . Richly enjoyable and enthralling, this exercise in creative empathy is a sequel of very high finish.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“An audacious sequel.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Fusing the essence of James’s style with his own signature wit and irony, Banville crafts a story that will delight and inspire classicists.” —Harper’s Bazaar
“Less a sequel to Portrait than a kind of recapitulation of it, a filtering of its events through a different novelistic consciousness. . . . There’s something inherently fun about being reintroduced, in a changed context, to all these half-familiar characters.” —Financial Times
“Banville does an impeccable job of re-creating James’ prose style and moving his characters forward in believable ways. As Mrs. Osmond progresses, his wicked sense of humor emerges more, and he adds twists to the plot James would have cloaked in reticence.” —Tampa Bay Times
“[Written] with wit, daring, vivid description and a sense of fun.” —The Irish Times
“[An] act of literary ventriloquism and imagination.” —The Independent
“A great storyteller. [Banville’s] book is not only an impressive recreation of James’s atmospheres and pacing, but also full of minor cliffhangers and page-turning suspenses that keep you guessing.” —The Observer
“[Banville] pulls off [Mrs. Osmond] with vigor and style. It’s hard to say no to a second helping of Isabel Archer.”  —The Seattle Times
“So successful it felt like discovering a new Henry James novel.” —Lara Feigel, The Guardian
“Banville’s ventriloquism is word-perfect.” —Vulture