The Portrait of a Lady

  • by Henry James
  • Narrated by Nadia May
  • 22 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An American heiress newly arrived in Europe, Isabel does not look to a man to furnish her with destiny; instead, she desires, with grace and courage, to find it herself. Two eligible suitors approach her and are refused. She then becomes utterly captivated by the languid charms of Gilbert Osmond.

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Customer Reviews

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Nary a good marriage to be found...

I have tried repeatedly to give Henry James a chance, and had avoided previous "Portrait of a Lady" recordings because I read negative reviews about the reader/audio quality. So when Audible released this version of "Portrait" I decided to dive in. The first piece of good news--- the reader and recording are both very good, I definitely recommend.

The second piece of good news-- the book is compelling. Although the book is titled "Portrait of a Lady," I think it more an exposition on marriage than one particular person. And if this book is representative of James's view of that particular institution-- the state of marriage in Western society circa 1860 is bleak indeed. Some of James's characters border on caricature, but others are deeply drawn -- particularly the villains. The book is more engaging than I'd ever have expected, I genuinely wanted to find out what would happen next, plotting and exposition exist beside character study and psychological insight, which I hadn't expected. About 3/4 through the book I said to myself-- I am really enjoying this! So I do recommend this recording, and for those of you who found books like "Washington Square" to be, well, trivial -- this one does exceed that mark. My only real complaint is that James didn't end the book well. I don't mean that he didn't end it happily or conclusively or satisfactorily -- he simply did not write an ending that is worthy of the book that came before. A common complaint of mine but one I was surprised to find with this particular writer and this particular work.
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- Rebecca "Daily Dog Walker and LONG Silicon Valley commutes, so I gulp through and love lotsa books, especially literary fiction and Mystery."

What can I say, It's Henry James

Almost perfect. Love England? Love the British writers? Want to experience the best English countryside intrigue of the time? Yes, read this. I don't think you'll be sorry.
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- Carol "I love audible books, although I've been a voracious reader before I joined Audible. I long for really good books. I've had a few."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.