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The Transit of Venus
The Transit of Venus
Author: 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 women--seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood, love and betrayal--becomes as moving and wonder...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780140107470
ISBN-10: 0140107479
Publication Date: 9/1/1990
Pages: 352
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.

3.3 stars, based on 18 ratings
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Transit of Venus on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is definitely not a "book for the masses". The plot is rambling, and the prose takes your full concentration to really extract the meaning. This isn't a book you can easily breeze through. But if you have the time and fortitude to stick with it, the ending is quite interesting. It reminds me of "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier (in style, not plot or substance): The plot seems to wander aimlessly, with no obvious point, until the end when it all suddenly and unexpectedly comes together.
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reviewed The Transit of Venus on + 376 more book reviews
This is undoubtedly difficult to read, especially the first third of the novel. I've never consulted Merriam-Webster so often. However, the payoff is worth it; this is the literary equivalent of "The Sixth Sense." After I'd finished, I had to investigate passages I'd previously read, searching for the clauses or seemingly-irrelevant asides the author employs. The last scene, in particular, was foreshadowed in what I consider to be a manner worthy of Nabokov. If you don't pay attention, you will miss it. If you don't pay attention to the first page, you will miss a major plot point.

This is a book to be read and reread, despite the moral indignation I felt at all but two of the male characters. It almost reminded me of the movie, "Closer," a group of people hurting each other for the simple fun of emotional injury to another human.

Make no mistake, this is a complex book, full of beautiful metaphor and intricate plot devices woven cleverly into intelligently-written and verbally-challenging prose. Do not read this without a dictionary at hand.
reviewed The Transit of Venus on + 50 more book reviews
I found this author's writing a bit too wordy for me. Since I was not enjoying it, I did not finish it. Others may like this style of writing.