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Publisher's Summary

"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 best-selling, 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 40. 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- to live with her mother, a minorly important sculptor (and major drinker) and her father, a famous poet (though unpublished) and try to survive without the devoted, potty-mouthed sister who made all the chaos bearable back then, and is now too busy or too fed up to deal with her.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.

©2021 Meg Mason (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Sorrow and Bliss

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really glad I hung in...

Started REALLY slowly & made me yawn 😴, but as it progressed, the character development and deep dive into mental and emotional health were 🙌👌. If you have interest or experience with emotional or mental disturbances and/or love a good family drama, this is worth the credit 💰.

2 people found this helpful

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Very Disappointed -- 2.75 Stars

This book was hard to follow and all over the place at the beginning, and attempted to be clever but wasn't. I almost gave up and actually did (unsuccessfully) attempt to return it, but fortunately it got only slightly better in the second half. I also disliked the narrator. Often I could not understand what she was saying due to her strong accent and her long pauses at the end of each sentence were annoying. Still, I definitely would not recommend it. The story, narration, and characters were all sub par.

The worst part is that the book is about Martha's mental illness but the author does not even come clean with a name for it, just "x." That didn't impart any social consciousness toward mental health if she was too ashamed to name it--or didn't the author research enough to choose one she could use successfully profile? Either way, it was frustrating, lazy and detracted from any professionalism the author might have been able to convey.

Again, the book fell short on all accounts. I have over a couple thousand Audible books in my library and this one sits at the bottom of the heap.

1 person found this helpful

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Thanks Martha

I loved how Martha broke down life in this story of wanting to be loved and not alone and the journey she took to figure it out. The shame she put on herself made it hard for her to love and be loved. So glad she figured this out . great writing and fantastic narrator. funny and sad and heartwarming. all the feels

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible

One of the best books I’ve ever read. I laughed and cried. A true gem.

1 person found this helpful

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I love them all

This family. Martha. Especially Ingrid and Patrick. This is more than just a sad story.. Pain, anger, regret... Healing, forgiveness....Too much for one person to go through. Too much for a family. Clever dialogue and spot on narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful book

Loved this book. Beautifully written and moving in multiple ways. The story is relatable and a true slice of real humans and real life. Highly recommend

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Tough but touching; so real; funny; important

First, hands down the best reading performance of the 40+ audible books I’ve listened to. Better than print because of her outstanding inflections and cadence. Bravo!! Second, as one w mental illness, I think this is an important work. It makes our journey very personable, real, now. If you have a loved one w illness, read it. There are a million valuable micro lessons in this text for anyone with mental illness, or in any type of relationship, romantic or familial, w someone w mental health issues. Some sections are hard, because mental illness can be. But stick w it. Knowledge is power, and this book teaches imo. Im grateful to Ms Mason for her honest, warm, funny, touching story about a difficult health issue. Fantastic. Well done!!!