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Sorrow and Bliss

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  85 reviews
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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 2nd 2020 by 4th Estate - AU
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  453 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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“But apparently I just exist in terms of my relationship to other people now
. . .
Days later, Ingrid . . . sent a photo of her hand, holding a Starbucks cup. Instead of asking her name, the person who took her order had just written LADY WITH PRAM.”

Martha’s sister, Ingrid, is a new mother. Martha is the troubled, funny, smart, clever, tortured young woman who doesn’t know who she is, and it’s been her sister who has helped her retain some sense of self. So it’s ironic that Ingrid is feeling a
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know how sometimes a book comes along at just the right time? Well, for me this bizarre year of 2020 was exactly the right time to read a book like Sorrow and Bliss. I adored it; every single page of it. Reflecting on it for a few days now, I think the reason it has had such an impact on me is that it is the most unconventional story of hope, at such an unconventional time. Other readers may not see it that way, but that's ok - it's a very personal thing.

Martha and her younger sister Ingrid
Jaclyn Crupi
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Damn I loved this – make sure it’s on your wishlist (Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason). It’s an anti-love love story. Mason has managed to configure a novel about women’s mental health and self-sabotage and instead of using high literary stylings as Moshfegh or Broder would she’s utilised romance novel tropes and just turned it all on its head making for very accessible and downright delightful reading and yet she’s still kept some of the pathos and darkness. Wildly impressive and so damn satisfyin ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

Sorrow and Bliss is a novel that claims to be both sad and funny and it immediately caught my attention. I was highly intrigued by journalist Meg Mason’s latest novel, especially as it came with a five star recommendation from a close friend. Sorrow and Bliss offers a topical and thought provoking journey around areas of life, love, family relations, marriage and the sense of self. Sorrow and Bliss is a nominal read that I valued.

Meet Martha. This troubled w
3.5 - 4

This novel has been promoted in Australia as "humorous and heartwrenching, for those who loved Fleabag and Normal People". When I spotted the newly added library audiobook I jumped at the opportunity to listen to it.

I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the humour to make an appearance. It never did. I was expecting irreverence, some shocking behaviours and observations, a la Fleabag, those never occurred. I got annoyed with myself for (partially) falling for the marketing. While t
Kaz Kershaw
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Devastating, funny, poignant, awkward and hopeful. Easily one of my favourite reads of 2020.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read YOU BE MOTHER, Meg Mason’s previous book, in 2017, and loved it so much that it made its way onto my “all-time-favourites” list. I couldn’t wait to read her latest one!

Mason writes with so much heart and humour that it is impossible not to get emotionally involved in her stories. Whilst Abi, our main protagonist in YOU BE MOTHER, is a young, inexperienced mother looking for a family to belong to, Martha in SORROW AND BLISS has chosen not to be a mother, for reasons we will gradually get t
Pauline [paulineisreading]
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
And just when i thought i’ve read enough incredible novels this year, Sorrow and Bliss came along and blew my mind!

This book is about many things - it’s about motherhood, mental illnesses and the stigma around them. It’s also about the love between sisters, the complexities and layers of romantic relationships, and so much more. At the centre of it all, we follow Martha. She’s been wrestling with life and mental stability (and ultimately, happiness) ever since experiencing a mental breakdown tha
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You might be surprised to know that I rarely get so engrossed in a book that I'm reading for hours - I think there's an assumption that people who 'read lots of books' devote great rafts of time to the pursuit. I wish that were the case! In reality, my reading is done in short bursts - ten minutes at breakfast and lunch, a couple of five minute 'power-reads' during the day, and then half an hour before I sleep. But occasionally, I have to put everything on hold because I've become absolutely eng ...more
Theresa Smith
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2020, netgalley
‘I seem to find it more difficult to be alive than other people.’

My heart is so full of so many emotions after reading this utterly perfect and deeply insightful novel. From the first sentence to the last; if you read one book this year, make it this one. If you are intending on buying a book for someone as a gift, make it this one. Seriously, it’s the best.

‘Normal people say, I can’t imagine feeling so bad I’d actually want to die. I do not try and explain that it isn’t that you want to die. It
Karys McEwen
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-2020
My favourite book of the year so far
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The characters in this book are so cleverly done, and they are the reason I’ve fallen in love with this book. Especially Martha. I’m so intrigued by her and all her complexities, even when I wasn’t liking her very much. Her mother lecturing her about how she wasn’t the only one in pain through all of this, maybe oddly, was one of my favourite moments – only your mum can give you a talking to like that!

Meg Mason knows how to write real people with all their contradictions and quirks, and as a re
Cathie Sawyer
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sorrow and Bliss is a raw and honest exploration into the suffering and struggles mental illness causes in one's life, in their relationships and for their families and partners. 

Meet Martha. 

She knows there is something very wrong with her, she’s just not sure what.

Her problem has affected her since she was seventeen when one day she curled up under her desk and refused to come out for days on end. All through her life she continues to have these episodes of varying lengths where she must hide
Cass Moriarty
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I heard Meg Mason’s new novel described as ‘Fleabag in a book’, I knew I wanted to read Sorrow and Bliss (4th Estate Harper Collins 2020). And this sharp, darkly hilarious, endlessly insightful writing, this heart-breaking dissection of a marriage, this poignant years-long examination of mental health and the consequences of labels, diagnoses and misdiagnoses, this highly original story, entirely lives up to the hype. The voice of the protagonist, Martha, is so distinct and relatable ...more
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sorrow & Bliss - Meg Mason

I grew up on British tv shows. The humour and the ability to laugh at the macabre is something my family enjoys in media and also how we relate to each other. I read this book in about 4 hours yesterday and just spent the day in bed while it rained. I feel like it’s got a lot of reread value as I’ll keep picking up little bits and pieces that I missed the last time - the jokes upon jokes upon jokes upon truth.

Martha is a woman who’s just turned 40. She has a sister (wh
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m still processing this one - it’s such a beautiful novel. I read it in two days because I was so immersed in Martha’s story - her despair, her loneliness, her helplessness, her family and her relationship with Patrick. It’s equal parts funny and heartbreaking (I laughed out loud while reading which I rarely do!) but the sad parts got me the most. There were so many powerful moments in this book that will keep me thinking about them for a while to come.
Michael Livingston
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Smart, funny and sad - Sorrow and Bliss is a wildly entertaining book about mental illness, packed with jokes, pathos and memorable characters. The portrayal of the relationship between narrator Martha and her sister is particularly wonderful.
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Haunting and amazing observations about motherhood, marriage and life in general.
Karren  Sandercock
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Tee
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Immersive. Honest. Darkly amusing. Believable. Necessary. Confronting.

But just so depressingly sad...To the point that sometimes I didn’t want to pick it up because it might ruin a perfectly good mood of my own.

Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book. This book was EXACTLY what I wanted Olive to be like. It was so incredibly brilliant and raw and just UGH. I loved it. It holds similar vibes to Olive, and also A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, but it is done so exceptionally uniquely and wonderfully. Holy moly.

Martha doesn’t want children, but the whole story isn’t based solely around this fact. Martha is mentally unstable, but the whole story isn’t based solely around this fact either. The novel is purely about life, the ups and
Tonile {My Cup and Chaucer}
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
LOVED. THIS. BOOK. One of my favourites of 2020 for sure.
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book arrived as part of my monthly WellRead book subscription. I had never read anything by Meg Mason before but the reviews for ‘Sorrow and Bliss’ were good so I was excited to start.

Our main character is Martha, a troubled woman who knows there is something wrong with her but she can’t put her finger on what the issue is. The history of Martha's mental illness is revealed through a series of flashbacks to her teenage years, which illustrate the delicate relationships she has with her par
Lauren Young
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
When people say "you just have to live with it" for so long you just think your a special kind of normal. It takes a brave person to take the forward step to find out that your special normal may need a bit of guidance. I really enjoyed (not all the time) being in Marthas head. I was down when she was down, happy when she was happy. Not every story needs an ending happy or sad as long as you just keep on going. Great book!!
wow okay, this completely wrecked me.
Kali Napier
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading this eviscerated and exposed me in a way similar to Normal People, though I think this is the better book. Reviewing it feels too close to the bone, would reveal too much that is personal.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I give almost everything four stars, rendering my reviews almost meaningless. I think it means I pick well, but there's always a slight let down on some front. Or that the book was better than I expected, which was the case here. A funny, diverting read about sad, funny Martha, her eccentric posh family and Patrick, her stoic husband, diagnosed at one point as having post boarding school disorder. The author plumbed unexpected depths while keeping the plot and the chuckles rolling along.
Renae Nae
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐️ Beautifully written. A raw and utterly engaging story.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't know how I feel about this one. Objectively it was very well written and compelling and I appreciated the ending. I feel that the way the main character was written (first person) limited the appeal of the book in that other characters were often telling her how appealing she is as a person but I found her quite unappealing, probably due to her negative view of herself. Without her highlighting her redeeming features to herself (and therefore the reader) she was a difficult character to ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An extremely interesting mix of Taffy Brodesser-Ackner, Ottessa Moshfegh and maybe a little bit of Sally Rooney, but in all honesty I think Meg has way more heart and soul than those others books. It’s more mature than Sally, less dark than Ottessa and just as observational as Taffy, without an overbearing male protagonist. Meg is extremely funny and has a light touch to the story of Martha which is sad and hopeful and most of all real. Loved this book and you will too.
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Meg Mason began her career at the Financial Times and The Times of London. Her work has since appeared in The Sunday Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sunday Telegraph. She has written humour for The New Yorker and Sunday STYLE, was a GQ columnist for five years and a regular contributor to Vogue, marie claire, and ELLE.

Her first book Say It Again in a Nice Voice (HarperCollins), a memoir o

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