Updated: Nov 22, 2021
Sorrow and Bliss is a brilliantly funny novel about mental health and marriage, not ordinarily hilarious subject matters but nothing is as you would expect in this book. Martha has suffered from depressive episodes since she was a child. Her story opens with the fortieth birthday party that her long-suffering husband Patrick as organised for her and the subsequent breakdown of their dysfunctional marriage, forcing Martha to reflect back on her less than satisfactory life so far. But this isn't a story about redemption or self worth, it is much more clever and subtle than that. Everything that Martha has believed to be true about her life is turned on its head. And while she is busy reimagining her past and dismembering the labels that have been attached to her for as long as she can remember, she begins to find the magic that she never knew was there. And the lightness of touch, the acerbic wit and droll asides with which she tells her story makes it laugh out loud hilarious and yet quietly devastating at the same time. When Martha is finally diagnosed with - - an illness which Mason cleverly decides not to give a name, her father tells her that she is brilliant, that when she is in the room no-one wants to talk to anyone else. And it isn't until this point that we realise the extent of Martha's magnetism. She is such a self-deprecating narrator that we had as little faith in her as she did in herself. And each member of her wonderfully eccentric and screwed-up family has been fleshed out with such complex depth that you imagine they must all be living breathing entities somewhere, who I wish I could meet! And the skill with which Mason delivers this story is off-the dial brilliant, not a word is wasted or out of place. It is a truly inspiring read and commentary on life that I would like to give to everyone I know. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!