A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • A tense, stunningly well-observed novel of a young American on the run, from Lawrence Osborne, “an heir to Graham Greene” (The New York Times Book Review)
“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, Booker Prize–winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
Escaping New York for the anonymity of Bangkok, Sarah Mullins arrives in Thailand on the lam with nothing more than a suitcase of purloined money. Her plan is to lie low and map out her next move in a high-end apartment complex called the Kingdom, whose glass-fronted façade boasts views of the bustling city and glimpses into the vast honeycomb of lives within.
It is not long before she meets the alluring Mali doing laps in the apartment pool, a fellow tenant determined to bring the quiet American out of her shell. An invitation to Mali’s weekly poker nights follows, and—fueled by shots of yadong, good food, and gossip—Sarah soon falls in with the Kingdom’s glamorous circle of ex-pat women.
But as political chaos erupts on the streets below and attempted uprisings wrack the city, tensions tighten within the gilded compound. When the violence outside begins to invade the Kingdom in a series of strange disappearances, the residents are thrown into suspicion: both of the world beyond their windows and of one another. And under the constant surveillance of the building’s watchful inhabitants, Sarah’s safe haven begins to feel like a snare.
From a master of atmosphere and mood, The Glass Kingdom is a brilliantly unsettling story of civil and psychological unrest, and an enthralling study of karma and human greed.
Lawrence is a keen observer of the real Big Mango: ripe, fragrant, appealing on the outside and yet rotten to the core. With his ever flowing prose, he masterfully juxtaposes the absurdities, contrasts and beauties that leave me wanting for more. Love it!
Lots of nice descriptions of Bangkok, but the actual story in virtually non-existence.
The glass kingdom
This is a gloomy, disparaging story—shaky at best—of misfits in a creepy depiction of Bangkok. Despite Osborn’s wonderful descriptive writing, this book does not get off the ground.