The Glass Kingdom

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Sarah Talbot Jennings, a young American living in New York, has fled to Bangkok to disappear. Arriving with a suitcase containing $200,000, she rents an apartment at the Kingdom, a glittering high-end complex slowly sinking into its own twilight – and run by conveniently discreet staff.

In Bangkok’s shocking heat Sarah meets the beguiling Mali, a half-Thai tenant who’s strangely determined to bring the quiet American out of her shell. An invitation to Mali’s poker nights soon follows, where – fuelled by shots of yadong, gossip of shady dealings in the city and the hit of marijuana – Sarah is drawn into the orbit of the Kingdom’s glamorous ex-pat women.

But when an attempted military coup wracks the streets below and Sarah witnesses something unspeakable through one of the Kingdom’s windows, only to be followed by a series of strange disappearances, Sarah’s safe haven begins to feel like a trap.

From a master of atmosphere and suspense, The Glass Kingdom is a brilliantly unsettling story of cruelty and psychological unrest, and an enthralling glimpse into the shadowy crossroads of karma and human greed.

‘Bangkok is the star of this accomplished novel. Its denizens are aliens to themselves, glittering on the horizon of their own lives, moving – restless and rootless and afraid – though a cityscape that has more stories than they know’ HILARY MANTEL

© Lawrence Osborne 2020 (P) Penguin Audio 2020

Critics Review

  • Showing Osborne at the height of his powers, The Glass Kingdom upends the Western reader’s most basic assumptions about the human world . . . stylish and disquieting

    New Statesman
  • Bangkok is the star of this accomplished novel. Its denizens are aliens to themselves, glittering on the horizon of their own lives, moving – restless and rootless and afraid – though a cityscape that has more stories than they know

    Hilary Mantel
  • The author’s exceptional descriptive skills fuel an overwhelming sense of menace . . . the next day you will still be thinking of Sarah’s fate with horror

    New York Times
  • Osborne’s novels are lavishly filmic . . . The setting is luxurious, the lifestyle hedonistic, the climate oppressively hot. Prodigious amounts of alcohol are consumed. As events accelerate towards a violent finale, the reader is kept guessing. How severe will the consequences be for the interloper? Which will prevail, revenge or forgiveness?

    London Review of Books
  • Lawrence Osborne goes from strength to strength. In The Glass Kingdom he once again displays a feel for the Westerner abroad in an alien culture, where misunderstandings can prove deadly. The author has lived for years in Bangkok, whose seediness runs deeper than the superficially icky red light district most foreign writers take on. Great characters, plenty of suspense, and a killer ending

    Evening Standard, Books of the Year

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