Sorrow and Bliss: Brilliant rendering of a troubled woman

Meg Mason has written one of the best novels of the year so far

Meg Mason

Meg Mason

Sometimes the funniest people are the saddest. This is the driving force of Meg Mason’s stellar new novel. The title Sorrow and Bliss is entirely fitting for a book that skilfully charts the life of a woman living with mental illness, her days spent treading the fine line between humour and despair. It is that rarest of things, a book that a professional reviewer doesn’t want to end. Sharp, stylish and revelatory, this novel is sure to be one of the big success stories of the year.

The plot centres on Martha Friel, an Englishwoman approaching 40 whose marriage to her long-suffering husband, Patrick, has recently come to an end. What follows is a look back through Martha’s life from late teens onwards, a deep dive into a chaotic, troubled family whose love for each other ultimately cuts through the darkness.

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