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A rich historical novel about the aftermath of betrayal, from the Booker prize-winner.

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.


Banville is one of the writers I admire the most

Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life

Banville is a gorgeous writer who can nail an emotion

The Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 16, 2018


    RRP $22.99

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  • Mrs Osmond
    John Banville



    October 5, 2017

    Penguin eBooks

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It had been a day of agitations and alarms, of smoke and steam and grit. Even yet she felt, did Mrs Osmond, the awful surge and rhythm of the train’s wheels, beating on and on within her. It was as if she were still seated at the carriage window, as she had sat for what seemed impossibly many hours, gazing with unseeing eyes upon the placid English countryside flowing away from her endlessly in all the soft-green splendour of the early-summer afternoon. Her thoughts had sped along with the speeding train but, unlike the train, to no end. Indeed, she had never registered so acutely the mind’s unstoppable senseless headlong rush as she had since leaving Gardencourt. The great snorting and smoking brute that had paused with brusque impatience at the meek little village station and suffered her to take her place in one of its lattermost compartments— her fingertips still retained the impression of hot plush and greasy leather— now stood gasping after its mighty efforts under the high, soot-blackened glass canopy of the throbbing terminus, disgorging on to the platform its complement of dazed, bedraggled travellers and their jumbles of baggage. Well, she told herself, she had arrived somewhere, at least.

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