Original Bliss
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Original Bliss

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  26 reviews
"Kennedy is a world class writer."--The New York Times Book Review

A brilliant American debut from one of Scotland's most acclaimed writers, named by Granta as one of the Twenty Best Young British Novelists.

Emotionally numb, crippled with insomnia, and caught in a frightening, abusive marriage, Helen Brindle believes that God has recently left her. She spends her days perfo...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 25th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Susan
I don't know when I've read a book of serious fiction where I've been both enchanted with the language and unable to put the book down. This short book I read in a little over a day and that a holiday as well where I was busily taken up with other things.

I'm currently trying not to by new hardbacks so I bypassed Kennedy's new novel, Paradise, for an older novel. It came just as I was packing to leave for my sister's for the holiday. It was small and seemed a likely thing to read on the weekend....more
Stephen
Wow! A love story like no other as my excursions into Scottish literature continue. A.L. Kennedy is daring to be sure. I was captivated by the tension in this novel between God and kink, with a strange compromise found in the end. The two main characters are unforgettable: one a repressed, abused, unhappy housewife mourning her loss of a sense of God; the other a self-help guru who also happens to be something of a compulsive pornography addict. Through all the feelings of disgust and shame, a t...more
Vanessa Wu
I have chosen to mention this book for several reasons.

1. I have it open on my bed.

2. Today I read A.L. Kennedy's blog in The Guardian and was struck by her disdain for marketing her own books. Let me do it for you, Alison, I need the practice.(See footnote).

3. We are always told that people don't buy short stories. Ahem! I bought these short stories. That proves something, doesn't it? I would rather read Original Bliss than all her other books put together. Or even just Everything You Need.

4....more
Holly
Mrs. Brindle has lost God. This was a relationship she relied upon heavily. Her days post the loss are spent on pointless domestic duties (she hates) like ironing socks or seeking out creative and complicated recipes to make for her husband. Her nights are spent wide awake lying on the floor in front of the TV seeking company, not education or information. It is here on late night TV that she first sees Professor Edward Gluck, who has a self-help process she decides to try. It is here that their...more
Edward S. Portman
Stati di grazia è una raccolta di racconti, ma a fine lettura quello che ti rimarrà impresso sarà l’ultimo, Stati di grazia appunto che da il titolo a tutto il libro. È una sorta di romanzo breve, a cui sono stati affiancati altri racconti decisamente più corti. I primi possono essere accostabili a una specie di preparazione in vista al vero impegno di lettura, anche se è apprezzabile la scelta di non dare alle stampe un semplice racconto lungo. Non fraintendetemi, tutti i racconti sono degli ot...more
C.B. Wentworth
Helen has lost God and punishes herself by staying in an abusive marriage, while Edward is trapped in his own bad habit of self-abuse. Both are looking for a savior in all the wrong places until they meet each other. A.L. Kennedy explores an unorthodox courtship between a battered woman and porn addicted man with heartbreaking honesty and humor. Helen and Edward's relationship is one that reminds us how important it is to have patience, acceptance, and forgiveness (both of the self and for other...more
Molly
I liked this and I didn't like it. Trying to write a review for this book has proved particularly difficult (this is my third attempt). Kennedy again proves adept at creating unique, damaged, and undeniably human characters. However, unlike Paradise (a later novel), the characters here were harder for me to get a grasp on. Particularly Helen Brindle. Perhaps it's my own difficulty in understanding how someone could be THAT devoted to their own faith.
I guess what matters is that I was drawn in a...more
Tara
Helen is an abused wife who believes that her beloved God has abandoned her. Edward is the male version of Oprah who obsessively masturbates. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? It is, actually. Somehow, these two find solace in each other, and reading about how they battle their demons kept me up til 2 a.m. to finish the story.

It's a very quick read. The novel is only about 150-200 pages and I read it within 24 hours. The writing style is sharp and quick, like pulling off a Band-Aid. Ver...more
Guillermo Jiménez
Una obra esperanzadora en un mundo atribulado por la información sexual cada diez pasos, un mundo mediatizado y bombardeado por falsos profetas y gurús de tercera que aprovechan la soledad que encierra a una humanidad que apunta hacia los suicidios colectivos, y además, un texto que rebasa con creces las relaciones amorosas, vistas desde la perspectiva de lo funcional, de lo práctico que es estar acompañado, de tener a alguien a tu lado de quien depender y para quien corresponder atenciones reci...more
Katie M.
I read So I Am Glad: A Novel ages ago and remember it as odd and sweet and moving. After years of vaguely meaning to read another A.L. Kennedy I finally picked up this one, and had exactly the same reaction to it. It's sort of about God and domestic violence and porn addiction but it's actually about two people who don't believe they are deserving of love and what happens when they meet. And it's just lovely.
Rachel
i wish i could give three and half stars. after a somewhat tedious 50 pages, the story finally begins to pick up and i finally started to care about the characters. from it's boring start it quickly segues into some very disturbing sexual content. there is violence in this book, but what i was so imperssed with, was kennedy's ability to turn some very despicable behavior on its head and to get me to like and root for these people. it's a very unlikely love story, but maybe that's why it was so s...more
Annett
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luann
I was thinking about how much I liked this novel the other day and how that fondness is akin to what I feel for the movie "Secretary." Both challenged my definitions of love and both had a deep tenderness for those who find that love in unconventional places. Kennedy is a fierce writer and not everyone's cup of tea -- I don't often recommend for that reason. But she's also brilliant and a remarkable technician, IMHO, and this is perhaps my favorite of the half dozen I've read.
Maria
Feb 13, 2012 Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maria by: My Librarian
Hm. Dieses Buch wurde mir von der sehr netten Antiquariatsdame empfohlen und ja, es war durchaus in Ordnung. Allerdings eben nicht so toll, dass ich es nochmal lesen würde, also: es war so mittel. Nette Geschichte, gut erzählt, angenehme Prosa, nicht seicht oder billig.
Aber am Ende war mir die "Moral von der Geschicht" denn doch etwas einfach: zwei Menschen finden die Wahre Liebe und das löst am Ende all ihre seelischen Probleme. Naja.
Ryan Williams
Collection of prickly funny stories and a sublime novella. This is still probably my favourite Kennedy, and - despite all the wierdness - the title piece is still one of the most tender things committed to print I have ever read. She's a funnier writer than people give her credit for, too - like Beckett, Kennedy knows few things are funnier than unhappiness.

Her novels are well worth reading too, perhaps with the exception of The Blue Book.
Sheri
Original Bliss was different, I am still not sure if I liked it or not. Edward was strange and Helen was almost pathetic, but I could not help liking her. The sex scenes were pornographic, so those who do not like graphic "sexual" detail should not read Original Bliss. It was a unique love story.
Diana Higgins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharonm
An abused wife and a self-help guru who is a pornography addict meet and fall in love. This odd relationship is beautifully, if sparsely, drawn as Kennedy reveals this awkward relationship.
Camilla P.
Se volete leggere la mia recensione, basta cliccare sul link :)

http://bibliomaniarecensioni.blogspot...

June anne
first foray into A L Kennedy - been meaning to for ages - watch this space...

Well, now that I've read it - found it slightly disturbing and not hugely satisfying
Elisascalise
Sep 21, 2007 Elisascalise rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kat
A book full of contradiction; both what you love and hate most about humans. Deals with some harsh subject matter without being melodramatic. Really like it.
G
A lopsided love affair, and well-written, but I didn't emotionally connect as others have.
Lindsay
Nothing short of life-altering. This book is BY FAR, the best thing I've ever read "for school!!!"
Dragana
Purposefully stuttering prose crafty, but too far-fetched in an unpleasant way.
Kate
Still need to read the final (longest!) story!
Lily
five stars
Aaron Robertson
Aaron Robertson marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2014
Hagai
Hagai marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2014
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Beizal added it
Aug 18, 2014
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Irene marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
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Alison Louise Kennedy (born 22 October 1965 in Dundee) is a Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. She occasionally contributes columns and reviews to UK and European newspapers including the fictional diary of her pet parrot named Charlie.
More about A.L. Kennedy...
Paradise Everything You Need Day The Blue Book So I Am Glad: A Novel

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“You can look at the words on this paper and, because they are the ones I am used to choosing, they will show you the shape of me. I am here to be read in the way you might read the impression of my weight in a bed after a still night, a restless night, a night not alone.” 8 likes
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