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John Banville

The last page of Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady (1881) leaves its heroine, Isabel Osmond, with an ambiguous choice. To go back into the cage of her wretched marriage might be an exercise of will for duty’s sake, or an evasion, based on fear. Readers have been disputing Isabel’s motives ever since her creator so ...

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Ghosts by John Banville

May 1993, no. 150

People who have read John Banville’s Book of Evidence tend to pale and take on a manic look when they’re told that there is a new Banville out. When they learn that it’s linked with that earlier book, almost a sequel, their ears pinken, their lips tremble, and, most disturbingly, their fingers begin to twitch. At this stage, the holder of an advance proof backs away, calmly, as smoothly as possible, never turning until the door is reached. Then she runs, and they’re in hot pursuit.

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