Mrs Os­mond John Banville

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS - RACHEL DU­GAN

Pen­guin, 384 pages, €11.40

With this novel, his 18th, Booker-win­ner Banville takes part in the long tra­di­tion of writ­ers reach­ing back through the mists of time to open a di­a­logue with a clas­sic novel.

For Banville, it’s The Por­trait of a Lady that he chooses to re­visit, pen­ning a se­quel-cum-homage to the 1881 Henry James clas­sic.

He picks up where James left off, with hero­ine Iso­bel Os­mond fac­ing into an un­cer­tain fu­ture hav­ing just un­earthed her hus­band’s be­trayal. In Banville’s ca­pa­ble hands, she sets out on a jour­ney that takes her to Lon­don, Paris, Florence and Rome.

Banville pulls off an ex­cel­lent bit of lit­er­ary ven­tril­o­quism in Mrs Os­mond, and if you haven’t read it, it af­fords the per­fect ex­cuse to read (or per­haps re­visit) a great piece of lit­er­a­ture.

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