The Transit of Venus
The award-winning, New York Times bestselling literary masterpiece of Shirley Hazzard—the story of two beautiful orphan sisters whose fates are as moving and wonderful, and yet as predestined, as the transits of the planets themselves
A Penguin Classic
Considered "one of the great English-language novels of the twentieth century" (The Paris Review), The Transit of Venus follows Caroline and Grace Bell as they leave Australia to begin a new life in post-war England. From Sydney to London, New York, and Stockholm, and from the 1950s to the 1980s, the two sisters experience seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood, love and betrayal.
With exquisite, breathtaking prose, Australian novelist Shirley Hazzard tells the story of the displacements and absurdities of modern life. The result is at once an intricately plotted Greek tragedy, a sweeping family saga, and a desperate love story.
Shirley Hazzard (1931–2016) was born in Australia but traveled the world during her early years, a result of her parents' diplomatic postings. In 1947, at the age of sixteen, she was hired by British intelligence to monitor the civil war in China. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. Hazzard wrote several novels, two of which were National Book Award finalists: The Bay of Noon (1971) and The Transit of Venus (1981). She is also the author of two collections of short stories and several works of nonfiction, including the memoir Greene on Capri. Hazzard's final novel, The Great Fire, won the 2003 National Book Award for Fiction and the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Lauren Groff (introduction) is the award-winning author of the novels The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, and Fates and Furies, and the two short story collections Florida and Delicate Edible Birds. She was named one of Granta's 2017 Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and sons.