Author(s): John Banville
Having fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband's shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence. Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge? Mrs Osmond is a masterly novel of betrayal, corruption and moral ambiguity, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea.
The abiding tragedy in Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, is that Isabel chose to marry a scheming dilettante called Gilbert Osmond. In this current novel, Mrs Osmond stands to lose a great deal. However, having made one mistake, Isabel is not about to compound it by making another. The cleverly wrought denouement here is an example of how to extricate oneself from the slings and arrows that conspire to damage and otherwise diminish one. As with the earlier work, the theme here is the American notion of freedom and emancipation contrasted against European nobility and moribund tradition. Worth mentioning too, is the style. John Banville has done an impressive job channelling Henry James's intricate prose. This is both a sequel and homage to the master and it is perhaps only John Banville who could create such a portrait with such precision. An intelligent and worthy novel. Mike.
Banville is one of the writers I admire the most - few people can create an image as beautifully or precisely -- Hanya Yanagihara, author of the Booker-shortlisted 'A Little Life' This engrossing and often beautiful novel is a true work of art that rewards careful reading * Daily Telegraph on 'Blue Guitar' * The Booker prize winning author - widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in English today - has produced what many already consider a literary masterpiece * Sunday Independent on 'Ancient Light' *
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of fifteen previous novels including The Sea, which won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. In 2011 he was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize, in 2013 he was awarded the Irish PEN Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irish Literature, and in 2014 he won the Prince of Asturias Award, Spain's most important literary prize. He lives in Dublin.