The Transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus

Book - 1990
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This book 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.
Publisher: New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1990.
ISBN: 9780140107470
Branch Call Number: FIC HAZZARD
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 20 cm


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Mar 12, 2016

The best book that I have read in a very long time. Now that I am finished I am eager to read all of Shirley Hazzard's fiction. This is a vivid, complex story centered on two young sisters, recent emigres from Australia, an up and coming scientist and a young, already celebrated playwright who is predestined by society strictures to “marry well”. Beginning with a summer spent at the estate of an old-moneyed English family, the book follows them around the world, though the thirties, the second world war and into the late 20th century. I loved absorbing myself in the detailed descriptions and long passages in which intelligent characters have actual conversations. Intricate plotting challenges a reader to pay attention to every detail in order to fully appreciate the major revelation near the end and to realize how events and secrets have impacted character decisions, behaviors and feelings over the decades. I admit to some confusion about the climactic airport scene, and who got on which plane? I am sure this is a book I will read again for the pleasures of the language and deep, compassionate insights into complex characters.

Aug 15, 2008

Pretentious at first but the ending was very good. The book was recommended by author Anita Shreve at the end of one her books where they printed an inteview with the author. She mentioned that thi was her ultimate favourite book and her friend and her would use it as the meter by which to measure other books. I wasn't all that impressed, but it's worth a read.


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