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Sorrow and bliss : a novel
2021
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Pushing away her devoted husband, a once-successful writer moves back into her bohemian childhood home, where she struggles to come to terms with the mental illness that has overshadowed her life. - (Baker & Taylor)

Pushing away her devoted husband, a once-successful writer moves back into her bohemian childhood home, where she struggles to come to terms with the mental illness that has overshadowed her life. A first novel. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Brilliantly faceted and extremely funny. . . . 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

'Improbably charming...will have you chortling and reading lines aloud.' 'PEOPLE

The internationally bestselling, compulsively readable novel'spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark, and tender'that combines the psychological insight of Sally Rooney with the sharp humor of Nina Stibbe and the emotional resonance of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

Martha Friel just turned forty. Once, she worked at Vogue and planned to write a novel. Now, she creates internet content. She used to live in a pied-à-terre in Paris. Now she lives in a gated community in Oxford, the only person she knows without a PhD, a baby or both, in a house she hates but cannot bear to leave. But she must leave, now that her husband Patrick'the kind who cooks, throws her birthday parties, who loves her and has only ever wanted her to be happy'has just moved out.

Because there's something wrong with Martha, and has been for a long time. When she was seventeen, a little bomb went off in her brain and she was never the same. But countless doctors, endless therapy, every kind of drug later, she still doesn't know what's wrong, why she spends days unable to get out of bed or alienates both strangers and her loved ones with casually cruel remarks. 

And she has nowhere to go except her childhood home: a bohemian (dilapidated) townhouse in a romantic (rundown) part of London'to live with her mother, a minorly important sculptor (and major drinker) and her father, a famous poet (though unpublished) and try to survive without the devoted, potty-mouthed sister who made all the chaos bearable back then, and is now too busy or too fed up to deal with her. 

But maybe, by starting over, Martha will get to write a better ending for herself'and she'll find out that she's not quite finished after all.

- (HARPERCOLL)

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction!

"Brilliantly faceted and extremely funny. . . . 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

The internationally bestselling sensation, a compulsively readable novel—spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark, and tender—that Emma Straub has named one of her favorite books of the year

Martha Friel just turned forty. Once, she worked at Vogue and planned to write a novel. Now, she creates internet content. She used to live in a pied-à-terre in Paris. Now she lives in a gated community in Oxford, the only person she knows without a PhD, a baby or both, in a house she hates but cannot bear to leave. But she must leave, now that her husband Patrick—the kind who cooks, throws her birthday parties, who loves her and has only ever wanted her to be happy—has just moved out.

Because there’s something wrong with Martha, and has been for a long time. When she was seventeen, a little bomb went off in her brain and she was never the same. But countless doctors, endless therapy, every kind of drug later, she still doesn’t know what’s wrong, why she spends days unable to get out of bed or alienates both strangers and her loved ones with casually cruel remarks. 

And she has nowhere to go except her childhood home: a bohemian (dilapidated) townhouse in a romantic (rundown) part of London—to live with her mother, a minorly important sculptor (and major drinker) and her father, a famous poet (though unpublished) and try to survive without the devoted, potty-mouthed sister who made all the chaos bearable back then, and is now too busy or too fed up to deal with her. 

But maybe, by starting over, Martha will get to write a better ending for herself—and she’ll find out that she’s not quite finished after all.

- (HARPERCOLL)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Martha hasn't had an easy time with love, or with much of anything, really: a nebulous career, a failed "starter" marriage, and a long history of depressive moods that seem to be getting worse instead of better. Now in a second marriage, to Patrick, a friend of her cousin's that had orbited Martha's life since she was a teenager, she's convinced that with her husband's support, she can make it through her darkest days. Until those days become weeks, causing her to lash out and create a rift in her marriage she's certain can't be fixed. 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. Sydney-based author Mason (You Be Mother, 2017) plots Martha's story in a nonlinear fashion, largely working backwards to highlight the highest and lowest points of her life. By refraining from naming Martha's ultimate diagnosis, referring to it only as "—", Mason trusts the reader to imagine the full weight of it. Fans of Marian Keyes should put this on their to-read lists. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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