01 November 2017

John Banville

Henry James’s classic novel The Portrait of A Lady, about an independent woman’s experience in an abusive marriage, ends ambiguously, leaving readers unsure whether the protagonist, Isabel Osmond, leaves her husband. Mrs Osmond is framed as a sequel, in which Isabel travels across Europe and tries to decide between pursuing independence and sticking to her duty. At one level an exploration of character, this novel is also a tribute to James’s style, which Banville makes his own through unspooling sentences that indicate minute changes in Isabel’s temperament.

Viking, 384 pages, Rs 599