Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson0)
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Sorrow and Bliss

by Meg Mason

Spiky, sharp and told with heart-breaking tenderness, this is a dazzling novel about modern love up against the confusing, sad aches of mental illness - with all its highs, lows, humour and misery.

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift - her mother once said - not everybody gets.

So why is everything broken? Why is Martha - on the edge of 40 - friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave?

Maybe she is just too sensitive, someone who finds it harder to be alive than most people. Or maybe - as she has long believed - there is something wrong with her. Something that broke when a little bomb went off in her brain, at 17, and left her changed in a way that no doctor or therapist has ever been able to explain.

Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents (but without the help of her devoted, foul-mouthed sister Ingrid), Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix - or whether, maybe, by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.

Reviews

A brilliantly faceted and extremely funny book that engulfed me in the way I am always hoping to be engulfed by novels. I was making a list of all the people I wanted to send it to, until I realised that I wanted to send it to everyone I know”
- Ann Patchett
A sharply observed, darkly hilarious and merciless portrait of a thoroughly messed-up family. Patrick Melrose meets Fleabag. Brilliant”
- Clare Chambers, author of SMALL PLEASURES
Brutal, tender, funny, this novel - a portrait of love in all of its many incarnations - came alive for me from the very first page. I saw myself here. I saw the people I love. I am changed by this book.”
- Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of ASK AGAIN, YES
This is a romance, true, but a real one. It's modern love up against the confusing, sad aches of mental illness, with all its highs, lows, humour and misery. Comparisons to Sally Rooney will be made, but Mason's writing is less self-conscious than Rooney's, and perhaps more mature. Her character work is outstanding, and poignant-the hairline fractures, contradictions and nuances of the middle-class family dynamic are painstakingly rendered with moving familiarity and black humour, resulting in a combination as devastating and sharply witty as Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag. ”
- The Bookseller
Sharp yet humane, and jaw-droppingly funny, this is the kind of novel you will want to press into the hands of everyone you know. Mason has an extraordinary talent for dialogue and character, and her understanding of how much poignancy a reader can take is profound. A masterclass on family, damage and the bonds of love: as soon as I finished it, I started again. ”
- Jessie Burton
Completely brilliant, I loved it. I think every girl and woman should read it.”
- Gillian Anderson
I devoured this book, with all its humour and pain and cock-eyed hope. It’s a funny and excruciating portrayal of mental illness, family dysfunction and love, all told through the point of view of a narrator who is in turn frustrating and endearing, but always fascinating. I adored it from the first page.”
- Julie Cohen