Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus

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by Shirley Hazzard
     
 

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The Transit of Venus is considered Shirley Hazzard's most brilliant novel. It tells the story of two orphan sisters, Caroline and Grace Bell, as they leave Australia to start a new life in post-war England. What happens to these young women—seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood, love and betrayal—becomes as moving and wonderful and yet as…  See more details below

Overview

The Transit of Venus is considered Shirley Hazzard's most brilliant novel. It tells the story of two orphan sisters, Caroline and Grace Bell, as they leave Australia to start a new life in post-war England. What happens to these young women—seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood, love and betrayal—becomes as moving and wonderful and yet as predestined as the transits of the planets themselves. Gorgeously written and intricately constructed, Hazzard's novel is a story of place: Sydney, London, New York, Stockholm; of time: from the fifties to the eighties; and above all, of women and men in their passage through the displacements and absurdities of modern life.

"Engrossing, masterly. . . . Combines the satisfaction of a family saga . . . with a highly structured plot reminiscent of Greek tragedy." — Gail Godwin, The New York Times Book Review

"A wonderfully mysterious book. . . . Both plot and characters are many layered. Unforgettably rich." — Anne Tyler, The New Republic

"Luminous. . . . Almost without flaw. Aphoristic and iridescent, her language turns paragraphs into events." — Webster Schott, The Washington Post Book World

Shirley Hazzard's books include The Evening of the Holiday, The Bay of Noon, and The Countenance of Truth. She lives in New York City and Italy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Hazzard here tells of two sisters, Grace and Caroline Bell. Born in Australia and orphaned at an early age, the two make their way to England. There Grace opts for marriage and its securities; Caroline reaches for more and loves not always wisely but well. ``A strong, deep, poetic, vibrant novel,'' lauded PW. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425075111
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/02/1981
Pages:
368

Meet the Author

Born in Australia, Shirley Hazzard traveled the world during her early years, a result of her parents' diplomatic postings. In 1947, at the age of 16, she was engaged by British intelligence to monitor the civil war in China. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. She has written several novels, two of which were National Book Award Finalists: The Bay of Noon (1971) and The Transit of Venus (1981, available from Penguin). She is also the author of two collections of short stories, and several works of nonfiction including the memoir Greene on Capri. Hazzard's most recent work, The Great Fire, won of the 2003 National Book Award for Fiction and the Miles Franklin Award. She now lives in New York, making frequent travels to Italy.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 30, 1931
Place of Birth:
Sydney, Australia
Education:
Educated at Queenwood College, Sydney, Australia

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The Transit of Venus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
It took me three attempts to finally 'get into' the book, and I'm glad that I persisted. This book is rich in character development and insightful in motive. The last few pages reveal a surprise that makes me want to start the book over again to see how Shirley Hazzard did it. Masterful. Warning- Keep a dictionary nearby. Ms Hazzard is very precise in her language and choice of words. Some words were new to me (Such as: 'palliating' and 'inapposite')but greatly enriched the reading experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For some reason this book reminds me of Thomas Hardy's novels - perhaps something in the opening pages of the book. A tinge of melancholy and fatedness. And later on, the wrong turnings taken. It is not quite easy to sum it up, as it works on many layers. It has been a favourite for many years, and I have given it as a present to quite a few friends, who have all enjoyed it.