Sorrow and Bliss
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
THE BOOK EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT
‘Just read it. It’s unforgettable’
India Knight, The Sunday Times
‘It is impossible to read this novel and not be moved. It is also impossible not to laugh out loud… Extraordinary’
‘Full of snappy one-liners but, at the same time, remarkably poignant’
‘Probably the best book you’ll read this year’
Mail on Sunday
‘Completely brilliant. I think every girl and woman should read it’
‘Exactly the book to read right now, when you need a laugh, but want to cry’
‘The most wonderful, heartbreakingly gorgeous novel of the year’
Elizabeth Day, author of Magpie
‘A raucously funny, beautifully written, emotion-bashing book’
‘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, author of The Dutch House
‘One of those “read it in one sitting and tell all your friends” kind of books’
‘Patrick Melrose meets Fleabag. Brilliant’
Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
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.
THE BOOK OF THE YEAR
An instant Sunday Times bestseller and a book of the year for the Times and Sunday Times, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard, Spectator, Daily Express, Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Daily Mail, Metro, Critic, Sydney Morning Herald, Los Angeles Times, Stylist, Red and Good Housekeeping
Inspired storytelling… a devastating and sharply funny love story… it is Martha’s voice itself – her woeful deadpan narration always teetering between the comic, the tragic and the downright unlikable – that makes this novel sing. — Julie Myerson * OBSERVER * A Fleabag-esque novel being raved about by Gillian Anderson and Ann Patchett… Expect this one to light up the WhatsApp chats. — Louisa McGillicuddy * SUNDAY TIMES STYLE * [A] razor-sharp exploration of mental health and identity. Hilarious and heartbreaking, this is best enjoyed over a large glass of rose on a sunny afternoon. * COSMOPOLITAN * Rarely have the excoriating effects of mental illness been articulated quite so beautifully – as heartbreaking as it’s funny, Sorrow And Bliss is one for the keeper shelves. — Sarra Manning * RED MAGAZINE * Deeply moving but also darkly funny, Mason has created the sort of story that you savour the last pages of and long for once it’s over. — Olivia Ovenden * ESQUIRE * Completely brilliant, I loved it. I think every girl and woman should read it. * Gillian Anderson * Sorrow and Bliss is a brilliantly faceted and extremely funny book about depression that engulfed me in the way I’m always hoping to be to be engulfed by novels. While I was reading it, I was making a list of all the people I wanted to send it to, until I realized that I wanted to send it to everyone I know. * Ann Patchett * 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 * Sorrow and Bliss is a thing of beauty. Astute observations on marriage, motherhood, family, and mental illness are threaded through a story that is by turns devastating and restorative. Every sentence rings true. I will be telling everyone I love to read this book. * Sara Collins, author of THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON * 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 * Meg Mason writes about the slow bleed of life-long depression with candour, humour and stark precision. Sorrow and Bliss is about what happens when your illness pushes everyone away – leaving you with only the sorest parts of yourself for company. It will, as the title suggests, shatter your heart, before mending it with infinite love. I’ve never read anything like it and will be pressing it into the hands of every reader I know. * Pandora Sykes * Consistently funny and sharp and dark: it’s wonderful. * Charlotte Mendelson, author of ALMOST ENGLISH * I’ve never read a novel about the impact of mental illness on the life of a woman, and those around her, like this. It is simply brilliant, and Martha’s voice is a joy: hilarious, sharp and devastating. A must read. — Alice O’Keefe * THE BOOKSELLER, Editor’s Choice * Nina Stibbe meets Fleabag — Charlotte Heathcote * DAILY EXPRESS * Blisteringly good… a novel that manages to be psychologically complex, yet still an utter joy to read. Sorrow and Bliss bristles with great one-liners and setpieces that are sometimes alarming, sometimes comic, but more often both. * READER’S DIGEST * An incredibly funny and devastating debut … enlivened, often, by a madcap energy. Yet it still manages to be sensitive and heartfelt, and to offer a nuanced portrayal of what it means to try to make amends and change. * Guardian * Sorrow and Bliss is a moving and poignant story about mental illness, family and love. It made me laugh and cry; a bittersweet read that will stay with you for a long time. * Libby Page, bestselling author of The Lido * 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, author of TOGETHER * 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. * Bookseller+Publisher * Sorrow and Bliss is hilarious, haunting, and utterly captivating. Meg Mason has created a heroine as prickly as Bernadette in Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Her humor is as arch and wise as the best work of Joan Didion and Rachel Cusk, yet completely original. What a thrilling new voice! * Amanda Eyre Ward, New York Times bestselling author of THE JETSETTERS * 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 * So dark, so funny, so true. You will see your sad, struggling, triumphant self in this deeply affecting novel * Laura Zigman, author of SEPARATION ANXIETY * With its finger on the modern pulse, Sorrow and Bliss blisters with its prose which manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking in the same line. I kept having to stop to underline sentences. It reminded me of a cross between Fleabag and My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but really, Meg Mason has crafted a protagonist who feels completely her own person. Fresh and alive. * Jodie Chapman, author of ANOTHER LIFE * Exploring the multifaceted hardships of mental illness and the frustrating inaccuracy of diagnoses, medications, and treatments, Sorrow and Bliss is darkly comic and deeply heartfelt. Much like the narrator of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Martha’s voice is acerbic, witty, and raw. Fans of Marian Keyes should put this on their to-read lists. * Booklist * Martha’s anecdotes, simultaneously funny and sad, are stacked with observations that alternate between brutally cutting-especially when directed at her mother and at the patient and supportive Patrick-and aching, as when her oblique descriptions of her sister’s growing family increasingly belie her true feelings about motherhood. Witty and stark, Martha’s emotionally affecting story will delight fans of Sally Rooney. * Publishers Weekly, Starred Review * Martha Friel, the narrator of this improbably charming novel about mental illness, will have you chortling and reading lines aloud. * PEOPLE * Meg Mason has the ability to keep the reader alongside and sharing in the hope every step of the way. * WOMAN & HOME *
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