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  • Published: 20 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781781090787
  • Imprint: Hogarth
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $38.99

The Glass Kingdom

A tense, stunningly well-observed heist novel following an American woman on the run in the blazing heat of Bangkok, from 'a modern Graham Greene' (Sunday Times)

'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

'Osborne handles surface and depth with immense skill, as only great writers can do' Deborah Levy, Financial Times

'Osborne writes mercilessly, savagely well. He excavates his characters . . . with a pathologist's precision' Daily Mail
'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' Lee Child

'The bastard child of Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith' Metro

'An exhilarating talent . . . one of our finest writers' Sunday Times

'An heir to Graham Greene' New York Times Book Review

  • Published: 20 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9781781090787
  • Imprint: Hogarth
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $38.99

About the author

Lawrence Osborne

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, The Naked Tourist and The Wet and the Dry. His short story 'Volcano' was selected for Best American Short Stories 2012.

The Forgiven
, starring Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Jessica Chastain, is due to be released in summer 2022; Hunters in the Dark will shoot in Cambodia with Aneurin Barnard, Adam Pettyfer and Tzi Ma; and Beautiful Animals is now in production with Amazon. Osborne lives in Bangkok.


Also by Lawrence Osborne

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Praise for The Glass Kingdom

A stunningly captivating, clever, and comical look at why social discomfort haunts us long beyond our teenage years. This book didn't just help me make sense of my most awkward moments. It liberated me from feeling embarrassed by them. Well, most of them.

Adam Grant, author of GIVE AND TAKE and ORIGINALS

Cringeworthy unearths all the reasons we wince, flinch, and recoil, and offers emboldening advice for how to take them on. Awkwardness has never been so delightful.

Bianca Bosker, author of CORK DORK

In this deeply researched and frequently hilarious book, Melissa Dahl shows that our capacity for cringing with embarrassment-at our own ineptness or other people's-is no mere psychological oddity. Her surprisingly uplifting message: through understanding awkwardness, we can learn to find more joy in the fundamental absurdity of being human.

Oliver Burkeman, author of THE ANTIDOTE

Melissa Dahl provides a fascinating (and often hilarious) examination of the underdiscussed feeling of awkwardness. Her practical, penetrating insights reveal that understanding what's 'cringeworthy' can help us understand ourselves better--and create happier lives.

Gretchen Rubin, author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

Cringeworthy breaks down the psychological research of why we feel awkward in certain situations, and whether we can get over that burning, uncomfortable sensation of having done something extraordinarily embarrassing or just simply goofing up. There's a certain joy in realizing that we're all a little klutzy, a little tongue-tied, a little embarrassing sometimes-and that's perfectly OK.

The Daily Beast

From inappropriate air kisses to one-sided conversations, our awkward moments remind us how much we have in common.

Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

A must-read for everyone who's struggled with awkwardness, in high school and beyond.


The psychological case for being less self-conscious.

NBC News

If you're blushing, you're still human: why you should lean in to your embarrassment. A lively, funny and often deeply personal investigation into the things that make us shudder.


Cringeworthy is a scientific exploration of a specific human quirk in the vein of Mary Roach or Malcolm Gladwell, offering sharp insights into what we mean when we call ourselves "awkward". Dahl writes with compassion and understanding.


How to embrace your awkwardness and feel better.


The guide to awkwardness every Millennial wishes they had in college. An essential, accessible guide to figuring out WTF is the deal with the most painfully human and painfully embarrassing emotion: awkwardness.


Awkward conversations can be valuable in the long run. Here's some psychology-based advice for dealing with uncomfortable subjects.

Tonic (Vice)

The upside of awkwardness. Dahl explains why we cringe, and why it can be a good thing.

The Verge

Dahl explains what awkwardness feels like, what makes a situation awkward, and how to use awkwardness like a superpower for moving through the world.


This lively study explains how embracing embarrassing conversations or exposing situations can improve your life. Dahl is exceptionally good at describing emotions and the visceral physical sensations that often accompany them ... pertinent and penetrating.

Katy Guest, The Guardian

In a delightful romp through all manner of researches, Dahl explores the 'odd little emotion' to which each of us is prey.


For anyone who's ever felt awkward in a social situation (so, all of us), Melissa Dahl's Cringeworthy is required reading. Dahl offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward and how to handle them. A way to socialise better, without embarrassment? Sign us up.

Sunday Times

Dahl focuses largely on the nature of embarrassment, in exquisite but accessible detail, providing a brilliantly insightful look at what the perceptions of others do to us on a fundamental level. Having it on your shelves would be nothing to be embarrassed about.

Dean Burnett, The Guardian

Who says being awkward is a bad thing? Melissa Dahl's Cringeworthy puts a new spin on embarrassing situations and looks at them as opportunities to grow. By the end of it, you'll be embracing the next weird thing you do in public instead of cowering in shame.

Refinery 29

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