The Transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus

By Shirley Hazzard

Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780140107470, 352pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 1990


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
Shirley Hazzard was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.

Ms. Hazzard's novels are "The Evening of the Holiday" (1966), "The Bay of Noon" (1970), "The Transit of Venus" (1981) and "The Great Fire" (2003). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, "Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories" (1963) and "People in Glass Houses "(1967). Her nonfiction works include "Defeat of an Ideal "(1973), "Countenance of Truth" (1990), and the memoir" Greene on Capri "(2000). She lives in New York, with sojourns in Italy.