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Mrs. Ted Bliss

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Published posthumously in 1995, Mrs. Ted Bliss tells the story of an eighty-two-year-old widow starting life anew after the death of her husband. As Dorothy Bliss learns to cope with the mundane rituals of life in a Florida retirement community, she inadvertently becomes involved with a drug kingpin trying to use her as a front for his operations. Combining a comic plot wi ...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published April 1995)
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MJ Nicholls
Oct 07, 2013 MJ Nicholls marked it as half-read
It is hard to be too disparaging about this novel, seeing Stanley Elkin wrote it in the last few years of his life, probably in the fleeting moments when his crippling multiple sclerosis let up long enough so he could type or handwrite. It is an heroic act that in his last years he chose to power through and work rather than let this horrible wasting illness vegetize him—a man of restless spirits and comic energy. Still, we separate the work from its writer and its composition. Mrs. Ted Bliss is ...more
Beth
Our book group just discussed this book. I give it 5 stars, because Elkin really does do an "amazing" job with a character study of an old woman, a widow, a proud homemaker who is a complex person, and not a stereotype. Even more meaningful to me is that he is spot on -- Mrs Ted Bliss could be my mother-in-law, olov hasholem, who spent her last years in a Florida retirement community. The writing is detailed and witty and very appropriate to the story.

I think the book is about the acceptance of
...more
Ken
I read over half of this book, and then skimmed to the end. Elkin has a very accomplished style, yet I didn't understand the premise of the book. Dorthy Bliss is an elderly woman who is living in a retirement high-rise near Miami Beach. Her husband is recently deceased, and the novel charts the changes in her life. The narrative hinges on her connection to a group of South American gangsters who live in her building. When her husband dies, one of the cartel members offers to buy Ted Bliss's car. ...more
Sheri
So, the main character is a spineless elderly woman (starts when she is in her 60s and ends when she is 82) with (admitedly) no interests. She worships men (simply because they are men) and spends her free time taking baths. A few of Elkin's comments about the necessity of having interests in life and the repetitive nature of life are interesting. A few of the moments (especially the debate between Dorothy and Ellen about who is chief mourner) are true to life, yet comical. Overall, though it wa ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
"Sometimes, two, three times a years, there would be card parties, or at least invitations to them."

Card parties are some of the ways Mrs. Ted Bliss, a widow in her eighties, living in a Florida condo, passes her time. She also has adventures with new friends, worries about her family, and testifies against a South American drug kingpin. But none of this is what made me happy to read each day. It was the spot on characterizations of Mrs. Bliss and the people who surround her, and most of all the
...more
Randy
Picked up this book because of an effusive review of the author, and because this title was believed to be his best work.

He is a fine writer, but the story just didn't do much for me, and the conclusion left me empty.

If you liked Philip Roth or even Saul Bellow, you may enjoy this. I can't say I loved it, but it held my attention enough to finish it. Glad I didn't buy the entire Elkin collection.
Laurie
Really a great book. Seldom do I read a book from the perspective of an "elderly" person first off, especially a convincing one. This fits the bill. Even the uncontrolled thoughts come through and makes it even funnier and more truthful. Love it. Could've used a yiddish dictionary though!
Kat
Well written, but not very interesting, as not much plot and while other bookclub members found the central character very believable, she seemed to be in a state of fog for most of the book, and so not very compelling. Lots of Yiddish slang.
Cindy
Must be a book you either 'get'/love, or don't. I didn't. An elderly Jewish woman lives in a Florida (Miami) condo amongst other elderly Jewish retirees and Latin American shady characters (drug smugglers, etc).
Jenness
I was listening to this book on tape. I only got through the first 2 tapes and gave up on the story. I had no idea where it was heading and I just wasn't that interested in any of the characters.
Sandy
I thought this was a great little book. Great characterization about a group who isn't usually the center of attention in fiction (Miami retirees.) Loved Mrs. Ted Bliss.
Bridget
I just couldn't get into it. I almost never leave a book unfinished but this one jsut did nothing for me.
Kim
I didn't really "get" this book but very much enjoyed the author's writing style and use of the language.
Matthew Coleman
The ending juxtaposition of the hurricane and mrs. bliss makes the novel worth the read.
Booky Seattlites
Feb 20, 2013 Mary Kay's (Mary Ann)
Glenda
Could not finish
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Stanley Lawrence Elkin was a Jewish American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. His extravagant, satirical fiction revolves around American consumerism, popular culture, and male-female relationships.

During his career, Elkin published ten novels, two volumes of novellas, two books of short stories, a collection of essays, and one (unproduced) screenplay. Elkin's work revolves about Americ
...more
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