The Transit of Venusby Shirley Hazzard
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 womenseduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood, love and betrayalbecomes 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.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
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 died in 2016.
- New York, New York
- Date of Birth:
- January 30, 1931
- Place of Birth:
- Sydney, Australia
- Educated at Queenwood College, Sydney, Australia
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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.
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.