The masterpiece of Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016), The Transit of Venus won the National Book Critics' Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
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.
About 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.
“The Transit of Venus is maybe a perfect novel.” —Rumaan Alam, The New York Times Book Review (podcast)
“I cannot think of a more elegant writer. To me she personifies the word exquisite. . . . It’s the inner landscapes, the kind of minute, almost inevitable gestures and impulses that comprise human interaction that she’s just so brilliant at registering, and in this sense I think she’s truly the heir to Henry James. She’s just such a treat.” —Emily Eakin, The New York Times Book Review (podcast)