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The Resource Mrs. Osmond : a novel, John Banville

Mrs. Osmond : a novel, John Banville

Label
Mrs. Osmond : a novel
Title
Mrs. Osmond
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
John Banville
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea and The Blue Guitar--a dazzling new novel that extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected (and completely stand-alone) territory. Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but naive 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's 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"--
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2017
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ What nerve it takes to pick up the thread of a masterpiece by the most discerning anatomist of the human psyche, the virtuoso spinner of sinuous, stealthily devastating sentences; yet who better to audaciously continue the story of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady than Man Booker winner Banville? The conclusion of James’ novel poses the tantalizing question: After learning the shocking truth about her oppressive, loveless marriage and leaving Rome, will dutiful Isabel Archer Osmond return to her monstrous husband? Banville dramatizes her ruminations and surprising course of action via deftly choreographed and painfully revelatory sparring sessions between the distraught though increasingly strategic Isabel and her allies (her friend Henrietta Stackpole) and enemies (her cold-blooded spouse and his poisonous cohort, Madame Merle) in grandly evoked settings in London, Paris, and Florence. At once crisply witty and deeply empathic, Banville deftly pairs scorching social irony with laser-precise insights into the cage of sexism and the trap of wealth, the betrayal of innocence and trust, and the allure of revenge. With viciously mannered dialogue and breathtaking psychological metaphors (Isabel feels like a hearse carrying “the warm little corpse of her own heart”), he dramatizes Isabel’s quest for higher moral ground only to slyly leave his novel’s ending as enigmatic as its inspiration. Banville’s gamble, daring us to compare his sequel to James’ classic, pays off deliciously. -- Seaman, Donna (Reviewed 10/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 114, number 4, p25)
  • /* Starred Review */ Banville’s sequel to Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady is a delightful tour de force that channels James with ease. The rich and measured prose style is quintessentially Jamesian: the long interior monologues perfectly capture the hum of human consciousness, and the characters are alive with psychological nuance. Readers join James’s heroine where his classic left her; Banville’s Isabel Archer Osmond is now a sedate, proper matron, who bitterly rues her marriage to deceitful Gilbert Osmond. She retains her high-minded principles, however, and has determined to live with her guilt at having ignored the advice she had received against marrying him. Gilbert is a cruel, arrogant man who condescends to Isabel in cutting language, lives off her fortune, and demands her complete loyalty. Having defied Gilbert when he forbade her to leave their home in Rome to hurry to her dying cousin’s bedside in England, Isabel feels the first stirrings of freedom. Almost capriciously, she withdraws a large amount of money from the bank in the hopes of having it free to spend as she sees fit without the interference of her husband and his malign mistress, Madame Merle. After Isabel’s redoubtable lady’s maid, Staines, discloses some astonishing news, the narrative takes a suspenseful turn. Some of the other characters from The Portrait of a Lady—including Isabel’s aunt, Mrs. Touchett; Pansy Osmond, Gilbert’s daughter; and American journalist Henrietta Stackpole—appear again. It is clear the freedom and social clout that money bestows in the 19th-century settings of London, Paris, Florence, and Rome, all described in lush detail. As in James’s novel, Banville incorporates a wonderful sense of irony; the result is a novel that succeeds both as an unofficial sequel and as a bold, thoroughly satisfying standalone. 50,000-copy announced first printing. (Nov.) --Staff (Reviewed 09/18/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 38, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ In 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.—John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman --John G. Matthews (Reviewed 11/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 18, p69)
  • /* Starred Review */ A sequel to The Portrait of a Lady that may well delight fans of that Henry James masterpiece and leave other readers bemused by the contemporary work's 19th-century sensibility. When last seen in Portrait, Isabel Osmond, nee Archer, has left London to return—inexplicably or inevitably—to Rome and her psychologically abusive husband, Gilbert. In this sequel, Isabel delays that confrontation for almost two months as she seeks counsel from friends and ponders her shortcomings, dead marriage, and the sort of freedom she desires. There's a comically appalling vegetarian dinner with a suffragette acquaintance, featuring "uncompromising greens," a late-night talk-a-thon with her bluestocking friend, Henrietta Stackpole, and a soiree at the Paris home of an American heiress, where Isabel encounters nemesis Serena Merle, her husband's partner in more crimes than James set forth. Isabel also withdraws "a very large sum" in cash from her London bank and carries it about in a leather satchel. She misplaces it and retrieves it, only to have Banville (The Blue Guitar, 2015, etc.) conceal its whereabouts for much of the book until it comes to serve the overarching theme of freedom. The disappearing cash is one of the subtler devices (cliffhangers end several chapters) he uses to bring some tension to this slowly unfolding drama, in which Isabel's Grand Detour before the reckoning with Gilbert—London, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Florence, Rome—offers most of the action: boarding a train, ferry, or horse-drawn carriage. Fans of Henry will find the writing persuasively Jamesian in its voice and diction, its syntax less labyrinthine. Fans of John should deem it marvelously Banville-an in its observations, humor, and insight—though they may wonder at this literary diversion by a writer who already plies the pen name Benjamin Black. A sequel that honors James and his singular heroine while showing Banville to be both an uncanny mimic and, as always, a captivating writer.(Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2017)
Assigning source
Provided by publisher
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10600590
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Banville, John
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6052.A57
LC item number
M78 2017
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Young women
  • Americans
  • Inheritance and succession
  • Married people
  • Triangles (Interpersonal relations)
Target audience
adult
Label
Mrs. Osmond : a novel, John Banville
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
369 pages
Isbn
9780451493422
Lccn
2017027401
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 986816495
  • (OCoLC)986816495
Label
Mrs. Osmond : a novel, John Banville
Publication
Copyright
Note
"A Borzoi book."
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
369 pages
Isbn
9780451493422
Lccn
2017027401
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 986816495
  • (OCoLC)986816495

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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