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The Glass Kingdom

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3.22  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  157 reviews
“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
...more
Kindle Edition
Published August 18th 2020
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Bryan Thank you for bringing this up! Drives me absolutely crazy. The summary is literally at the top of the page. Invariably some of these "summaries" list…moreThank you for bringing this up! Drives me absolutely crazy. The summary is literally at the top of the page. Invariably some of these "summaries" list spoilers even though the reviewer may not think so.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Susan Poor editing. There are several moments in the book when the electricity is off and characters do not turn on lights (duh) or lights were not shining
t…more
Poor editing. There are several moments in the book when the electricity is off and characters do not turn on lights (duh) or lights were not shining
through the windows.

(less)

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Average rating 3.22  · 
Rating details
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Faith
Sarah Mullins defrauds an elderly writer out of $200,000 and flees to Bangkok to hide out. Bangkok is a random decision, in fact most of Sarah’s decisions seem random. She is hardly a criminal mastermind and when she winds up in the high-end apartment complex called the Kingdom she is outmatched by both the other residents (most of them ex-pats) and the staff. They spy, lie and connive. I don’t see this book as doing much for Bangkok tourism.

I’ve had mixed experiences with this author’s books.
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Carol
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***3.5 Stars***
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
~ Sir Walter Scott

A twisty tale where the main character is a young American on the run with a suitcase full of stolen money. She settles in an upscale residential tower in Bangkok known as “The Kingdom” and befriends other occupants of the tower (mostly women).

The story is told from multiple perspectives. Not one of these main characters is likable. Sarah and the other tenants of the tower are secretive and dev
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Dave
"The Glass Kingdom" is filled with beautiful prose that often echoes the closed-in feeling of the narrative. Think Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" set in Bangkok meets Jim Thompson's "The Getaway." Perhaps no one is who you think they are. Sarah, perhaps doesn't reinvent herself as much as Mr. Ripley does, but her flights of fancy from a publishing assistant in New York City to new person entirely encsconced in the towers of the Kingdom in Bangkok speaks the same language.

There'
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Kasa Cotugno
Lawrence Osborne has been called a present day Graham Greene, and I'd have to agree. His world is one of sun soaked danger in a monsoon ravaged, politically unstable Thailand, in which a young American woman fugitive believes she can hide away. Other books I've read by Osborne carry this same haunted quality in which a naive protagonist is far out of their depth, and thinking they're ahead of the game, finds themselves getting more than they bargained for. Here, the Glass Kingdom, a crumbling, f ...more
Elyse  Walters
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook....read by Sura Siu

This was the first book I’ve read by Lawrence Osborne.
If all Osborne books are this good....I definitely want more.
I also - equally - would love to listen to more books by Sura Siu. Her audio-voice was outstanding.

The writing - and story is exquisitely original,
fresh, mysterious, dangerous, and luxurious.
It’s richly complicated - with many subtle and intricate layers.
Sura Siu pulled me into her storytelling with that charismatic youthful voice of hers with a slig
...more
Jill
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Going into a Lawrence Osbourne novel, his readers know two things: first, there’s bound to be an arrogant American who becomes unglued in an exotic culture and second, if there’s a lot of money involved, the tale is going to end badly.

And so it is with The Glass Kingdom. A young American named Sarah Mullins pulls a con job on a famous and aging author whom she befriends by selling her letters in Hong Kong and siphoning off a few hundred thousand dollars. Her plan is to lay low in Bangkok at a gl
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Barbara
2.5 stars: What did I just read?? “The Glass Kingdom” by Lawrence Osborne is a bizarre story set in Thailand involving the occupants of a crumbling apartment building. The main character is the building as it sinisterly deteriorates through the novel.

To add to the strange atmosphere is Osborne’s inconsistent viewpoint, making it difficult to follow the thread. What is front and center is a sinister overtone. The character we most know is American Sarah Mullins who is a new resident at the start
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Alena
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, 2020, reviewed
What did I just read? I honestly have no idea. You know, there are plot and character driven stories, right? Well, this one was more like a place driven book. About 80% of it was dedicated to describing the streets, buildings, weather, animals, pedestrians. Because of that I had no idea who any of the characters were, except that they were all selfish liars who used other people and stole from them.

The writing tried so hard to seem like you can't trust anybody but then it just showed everything
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switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If I could dine once with a living writer, Osborne would surely make my finals list. He is a reader’s and writer’s writer, where plot arises from his prowling prose and evocative atmosphere. Sinister and menacing at every turn, his narratives metaphorically create the invisible monsters of our youth as the setting for our stories. In Glass Kingdom, West meet East again, where his protagonists fall through the darkness and shadows in alien cultures.

Our lead female here is Sarah, a lonely young w
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Dan
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Lawrence Osborne sets his The Glass Kingdom mostly inside the grubby windows of Bangkok's Kingdom apartment complex with its decaying gardens and its four interconnected towers of twenty one floors each.  Once  elegant and populated by Thai nouveau riche grandees, the Kingdom is now inhabited by a mostly anonymous mix of farangs, salarymen, and déclassé Thais, all presided over by the mysterious Mrs. Lim.  Like most others at the Kingdom, Lim is best known for her family's earlier status and wea ...more
Marjorie
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
American Sarah Mullins has come to Bangkok, Thailand looking to hide away. She rents an apartment in the high-end complex called The Kingdom. She soon meets three other mysterious women there: the married Nat, who is a British hotelier; Ximena, the Chilean chef; and Mali, the most mysterious of them all. But political unrest causes upheavals and violence in the streets surrounding The Kingdom that begin to work their way inside the complex, causing feelings of unsafety for the residents and reve ...more
lucky little cat
Think Rear Window transplanted to an Bangkok atrium hotel of aging splendor.

Like the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, but smaller, seedier, and creepier.

The book starts out as atmospheric noir, then three quarters of the way in shifts into (view spoiler) mode without adequate preparation or (view spoiler)

And we never find out (view spoiler)
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Bonnie Brody
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Osborne has a way of painting an indolent, creepy, and decadent cast of characters, mostly ex-pats, who reside in a once glorious but now decaying rental/condo unit in Thailand. The unit is likely a metaphor for the characters, each with their secrets and lies., their lives falling apart as the Thai government falls apart around them.

Sarah, an American, has stolen $200,000 and runs off from New York to Thailand until her trail is hopefully extinguished. She is a grifter of sorts, schemi
...more
Tina Wright
I saw that another reviewer described The Glass Kingdom’s narrative as indolent, and that is an apt description. The novel offers plenty of atmosphere and occasionally lovely turns of phrase, but the plot creeps along at a languorous pace that (purposely?) matches the sticky, heat-soaked days during which the story takes place, and the inhabitants of the Kingdom felt to me more like sketches than fully realized characters. I did not enjoy this world, did not care about any of the characters, and ...more
Bonnie Brody
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence Osborne has a way of painting an indolent, creepy, and decadent cast of characters, mostly ex-pats, who reside in a once glorious but now decaying rental/condo unit in Thailand. The unit is likely a metaphor for the characters, each with their secrets and lies., their lives falling apart as the Thai government falls apart around them.

Sarah, an American, has stolen $200,000 and runs off from New York to Thailand until her trail is hopefully extinguished. She is a grifter of sorts, schemi
...more
Doug H
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
“A stable authoritarian pattern was good for restaurants. The diners soon lost their anxieties about the loss of democracy and returned with relish to their steak tartare and dinner dates. Money remained money, and sex remained sex.”

3.5 stars
Kyla Gardner
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've spent years living in Bangkok, a city I love for its contradictions, and this novel made me feel instantly as though I were transported back there. The atmosphere is wonderfully drawn; Osborne is masterful at place description.
However, where this book fell down was in both plot and characters. We're often told things that seem contradictory to what we've seen happen, ie that a group of four 30-something women ("girls" as Osborne would call them) are all good friends when we know they've on
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Paula Lyle
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
The Glass Kingdom is a large apartment complex that is slowly sliding into ruin. The same could be said of the people who rent there. Nobody is in any way kind or honest. They are all just a petty (or larger) crime away from disaster or reward. This could be compelling, but you are not given a reason to care one way or another for anyone involved. The ending is so underwritten that you really have no idea what has happened to most of the characters. Thank goodness, I really didn't care.

I receive
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Heather Fineisen
I like some of Osborne's work, some at five star ratings but this didn't really work for me. Maybe a little too slow. The main character, American, was the con artist before but soon becomes the con victim while she hides out in a strange Bangkok apartment. Money exchanging, power plays and murder ensue while the City goes on lock down. I definitely will read this author again although this novel fell short.

Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley
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Geonn Cannon
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of potential, then a let-down of a second half. It felt like someone took a lot of time and effort to build a house of cards and then didn't know what to do with it, so they just kicked the table leg and said, "Voila, done." ...more
Tripfiction
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dark novel set in BANGKOK

Our You Tube review: https://youtu.be/-dyINWwyxrM



If someone asked me who my favourite author is, I would probably say Lawrence Osborne was in my top ten list. He is a master of observation, detail (without making it boring) and always has a dark undertow to his stories (usually involving the misfortunes of ex-pats). His stories hover on the knife-edge of being credible. His work is often compared to the writing of Graham Greene, no mean feat!

This is the story of Sarah, w
...more
Jeanette
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heavy, heavy atmosphere of Bangkok Thailand is the central crux of this book. Primarily a 4 tower community of high rise 20-21 floors per tower entity of living arrangement that is called The Kingdom. The Kingdom has its own grounds, gates, security, and is a glass, vine and bridge world. All the towers are connected on each floor with bridges. There is a central pool on the 2nd level open to all eyes. Our central character is a rather (IMHO) unpleasant and dishonest American woman of about 30 y ...more
Mary Lins
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
“The Glass Kingdom”, by Lawrence Osborne, is set in a luxury Bangkok apartment complex made of glass, which is as much a character in the story as any human. We are immediately introduced, by the omniscient narrator, to a young woman, Sarah Mullins, who has re-named herself Sarah Talbot Jennings, and who has disguised herself to “make herself invisible for a while, to turn herself into a ghost”. What a mysterious and auspicious beginning to a fascinating and addictive story! Why is Sarah on the ...more
Birgitt Krumboeck
OMG! If I could invite myself over for a High Tea in Bangkok with this author, I would... Spectacular! I am going to read all of his other books. I came across Lawrence Osborne in a NYT book review by Louise Doughty. I am stunned beyond repair!!!!!
Thomas Goddard
Damn. It is going to be another short review. Because I was always brought up to believe that if you don't have anything good to say, you shouldn't say much of anything.

This one reads like it wants to be High Rise (J.G.Ballard) and ends up just being a low ebb.

I loved the writing. The author is clearly talented. They just can't develop a decent plot to keep things engaging. I kept reading because I loved the description of the hotel and the surrounding area. I've been to Thailand. I stayed in a
...more
Shannon
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Vintage for the arc of The Glass Kingdom written by Lawrence Osborne.

Thanks to Lawrence Osborne for writing this thrilling gripping book.

This follows an American whose named Sarah Mullins who has come to Bangkok which is the capital of Thailand, because she wishes to hide herself away. She ends up finding this high end apartment complex which is named "The Kingdom" But curiously she ends up meeting 3 other women there but she don't know them, they ar
...more
Mary Jo Malo
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Osborne is one of our best contemporary authors. He's a genius at creating atmosphere and tense narratives which burn slowly and creepily without overly dramatic clichés and tropes. This novel is my favorite Osborne novel to date. Sex and violence are 'off-screen' so if you want to indulge those images, you must do it without help from Osborne. What matters in his stories are class, wealth, poverty, culture, the pervasive presence of history's ghosts, and uncertainty about the future. ...more
Lynne Cosmano
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was a very dreary book. Had to struggle through.
Neil
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
This is my fourth Lawrence Osborne novel (I have previously read The Ballad of a Small Player, Hunters in the Dark and Beautiful Animals). I go into his books now with a sort of expectation: it seems that they often start of deceptively quietly, explode in the middle and then descend into darkness during the second half. The Glass Kingdom is no exception to this.

According to press reviews and interviews, Osborne has been referred to as both “the best novelist you have never heard of” and “the he
...more
Yun Rou
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's tempting to call this a writer's book, but that would be to deny the overarching feeling it creates, the dark and terrible mood, that some readers crave, particularly those of horror fiction. I would also call this a mystery novel or a horror novel but it is neither because there really is no mystery and the horror is the horror of place. The Glass Kingdom, no spoiler alert required, is the name for an apartment complex, high-end but a bit wabi-sabi with age, in Bangkok. This complex, the c ...more
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Lawrence Osborne is a British novelist currently residing in New York City.

Osborne was educated at Cambridge and Harvard, and has since led a nomadic life, residing for years in France, Italy, Morocco, the United States, Mexico, Thailand and Istanbul.

He is the author of the novel Ania Malina, a book about Paris, Paris Dreambook, the essay collection The Poisoned Embrace, a controversial book about
...more

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