Mrs Osmond John Banville
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.