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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
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.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful