Author(s): Meg Mason
Spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark and tender, full of pathos, fury and wit, Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason is a dazzling, distinctive novel from a boldly talented writer. For fans of Sally Rooney, Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Fleabag.
This novel is about a woman called Martha. She knows there is something wrong with her but she doesn't know what it is. Her husband Patrick thinks she is fine. He says everyone has something, the thing is just to keep going.
Martha told Patrick before they got married that she didn't want to have children. He said he didn't mind either way because he has loved her since he was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it.
By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn't really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing - if you can find something else to want.
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"Meg Mason’s new novel Sorrow and Bliss isn’t out until September this year but I urge you to make note of it now. It is definitely going to be one of my favourite reads for 2020.
Sorrow and Bliss is described as 'sad and funny'. I’d take it further and say it’s devastating and hilarious. It’s also tender and furious, filled with acute observations on family, womanhood and mental health, and it is intensely moving.
It tells the story of Martha, from childhood through to the present day. From before a switch was flicked in her mind through the following twenty years of fallout, of grappling with who she is and why she is that way, and who she could be. It also intimately details the story of her family and her two marriages.
The novel centres on these relationships and they are exquisitely depicted, with Martha’s compassionate/cutting observations contained in short vignettes—a style which reminds me of Jenny Offill but in a fleshier form reminiscent, I think, of Kate Atkinson. It’s impossible to pick a favourite character or moment—the whole book is chock-full of them—but I do think I will always smile when I think of the career path Martha’s poet father takes towards the end."
— Reviewed by our bookseller Kate
Longlisted for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction - Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2021
'A triumph. A brutal, hilarious, compassionate triumph.' --Alison Bell, The Letdown
'I just adored this book. It's timely and dark and poignant and funny. It was filled with such eviscerating compassion and rage; I couldn't get enough of it. I inhaled it in a single weekend, unable to put it down. Meg Mason is a searing talent.' --Kate Leaver, The Friendship Cure
'This is a romance, true, but a real one ... as devastating and sharply witty as Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag.' --Bookseller+Publisher