'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
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 simmering 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 political chaos and a frenzied uprising wrack the streets below, and Sarah witnesses something unspeakable through one of the Kingdom's windows, her 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.
A New York Times Notable Book of 2020
'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' JOHN GRAY, NEW STATESMAN
Born in England, Lawrence Osborne is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Forgiven, The Ballad of a Small Player, Hunters in the Dark, Beautiful Animals, Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe novel (commissioned by the Raymond Chandler estate) and The Glass Kingdom. His non-fiction ranges from memoir through travelogue to essays, including Bangkok Days, Paris Dreambook and The Wet and the Dry. His short story 'Volcano' was selected for Best American Short Stories 2012. The Forgiven is currently being filmed in Morocco, starring Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Jessica Chastain, and is due for release in 2021; Hunters in the Dark will shoot in Cambodia in 2021 with Aneurin Barnard, Adam Pettyfer and Tzi Ma; and Beautiful Animals is now in production with Amazon. Osborne lives in Bangkok.
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 - John Gray
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 - Louise Doughty
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
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 - Lionel Shriver
An atmospheric, gripping novel . . . a horror-satire of globalised capital in which money might buy you idle time or the semblance of power, but it also makes you a target. The Kingdom's residents are blind to its fragility until it is almost too late: as apt a metaphor for 2020 as a novel could hope to provide
i - Ed Cumming
Daily Mail - Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Osborne, who specialises in stories about hapless Westerners coming a cropper in foreign lands, has another hit on his hands with this sinister, sensuous and wonderfully evocative tale
Evening Standard - Katie Law
Osborne handles surface and depth with immense skill, as only great writers can do
Financial Times - Deborah Levy
Osborne writes mercilessly, savagely well. He excavates his characters . . . with a pathologist's precision
If the purpose of a novel is to take you away from the everyday and show you something different, then Osborne is succeeding, and handsomely
The bastard child of Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith
Oozing menace, Osborne's compelling novel is wonderfully atmospheric and deeply macabre
Mail on Sunday - Anthony Gardner
An exhilarating talent . . . one of our finest writers
An heir to Graham Greene
New York Times Book Review
Elegant, stylish and ambiguous
Lawrence Osborne did not disappoint in his atmospheric thriller The Glass Kingdom
Observer, *Books of the Year* - Lionel Shriver