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James's writing is wonderful and this version is very well read. The novel is character driven rather than plot driven. We see Isabel's character evolve, the effect money has on her life, the different male suitors show the marital options available to women at the time and the satelite female characters portray alternative forms of existence for women in C19th society. Isabel arrives on the scene framed in a doorway- like a portrait- and leaves the same way, but is much changed. When you look at a portrait it is static but you can read so much into it; the same is true of Isabel Archer.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about The Portrait of a Lady?
I loved Henry James's descriptions. He takes his time and you have to be patient with the pace of the story but it's great. Didn't have quite the ending I wanted but then it was up to the writer not me!
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The point where she realizes there's a betrayal and an undercurrent in her relationship to her best friend was pretty good. As was the description of her growing realization of the true nature of her husband's character. Very moving.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
John Wood's narration is just about perfect. The "American" accents are not "realistic," but that is a minor quibble, especially as it is offset so well by the perfect rendition of the narrative voice. Wood clearly understands the arc of the novel as a whole, so each chapter, paragraph, sentence has the right tone and nuance; the little refracted ironies strewn about everywhere are nicely expressed. Best of all -- I say this without having heard other readings -- is that Wood reads slowly. He savors the words, and we have time to understand them. The production values and audio quality are fabulous. I echo Linda's comment: Please, Mr. Wood, record more James!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
John Wood's compelling reading demonstrates a true and deep understanding of this, one of Henry James's greatest novels. His characterizations were perfect, particularly the difficult and at times enigmatic character of Isabel Archer. I hope Mr. Wood will do many more of James's works.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful