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Spiky, sharp, intriguingly dark and tender, full of pathos, fury and wit, Sorrow and Bliss is a dazzling, distinctive novel from a boldly talented writer.

 

Advance praise

‘This is a romance, true, but a real one. Comparisons to Sally Rooney will be made, but Mason’s writing is less self-conscious than Rooney’s, and perhaps more mature. Her character work is outstanding, and poignant—the hairline fractures, contradictions and nuances of the middle-class family dynamic are painstakingly rendered with moving familiarity and black humour, resulting in a combination as devastating and sharply witty as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag.’
Books+Publishing

‘A triumph. A brutal, hilarious, compassionate triumph.’
Alison Bell, star and co-creator of The Letdown

‘I just adored this book. It’s timely and dark and poignant and funny. It was filled with such eviscerating compassion and rage; I couldn’t get enough of it. I inhaled it in a single weekend, unable to put it down. Meg Mason is a searing talent – I am so glad to have discovered her writing and I cannot wait to see what she does next.’
Kate Leaver, The Friendship Cure

‘How can something this tender be this dark? How can a book this funny be so sad? Meg Mason pulls off an extraordinary feat – this is a novel that is darkly funny and unsparing of its targets, but also gentle and humane. The bone-dry voice of the narrator captures you on the first page and sweeps you along like a fast-moving current. Once you open it, cancel your plans. You won’t be putting it down.’
Jacqueline Maley, The Truth About Her

‘I read Meg’s Sorrow and Bliss in three delicious days this week, (and all while feeling nearly sick with jealousy at not having written it myself). What a book! As if Ottessa Moshfegh and Sloane Crosley had a love child. Hilarious, heartbreaking; I adored it. Honestly, it was the best thing I’ve read in ages.’
Felicity McLean, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone

‘This book is SO GOOD. What a hugely beautiful, excellent novel. Compelling, funny, sad, moving. I couldn’t put it down. The feeling readers live for.’
Holly Ringland, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

‘Loved this book. Intelligent, clever – and so funny I wanted to steal some of her lines! I was literally laughing out loud. Meg is a beautiful writer.’
Phoebe Tonkin

‘Damn, I loved this … Wildly impressive and so damn satisfying to read. It ultimately filled me with hope…’
Hill of Content Bookshop

‘Just read Sorrow and Bliss … Loved it. Loved the characters, loved their relationships. Just loved it.’
Readings

‘My gosh, this book was wonderful. It totally filled the Eleanor Oliphant and Sally Rooney shaped hole in my heart, and I can’t wait for more people to read it.’
Brumby Sunstate

 

 

About the book

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 was fourteen and making her happy is all that matters, although he does not seem able to do it. By the time Martha finds out what is wrong, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It is too late to get the only thing she has ever wanted. Or maybe it will turn out that you can stop loving someone and start again from nothing – if you can find something else to want.

A novel about what it means to not know a crucial missing piece of information about yourself, Sorrow and Bliss is at once incredibly witty, deeply moving, highly topical and all-consuming. This is a novel like no other. It just may be compared to novels by Nora Ephron, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sally Rooney and Taffy Brodesser-Akner because it deals with many of the same themes and topics – however Meg Mason writes about these things in a way that we haven’t read before.

Read a sample chapter here.

 

About the author

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, monthly columns for GQ and InsideOut and is now a regular contributor to Vogue, ELLE, Stellar and marie claire. Her first book, a memoir of motherhood, Say It Again in a Nice Voice (HarperCollins) was published in 2012. Her second, a novel, You Be Mother (HarperCollins) was published in August 2017. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two daughters.

 

Watch Meg Mason tell you about Sorrow and Bliss

 

Why I wrote Sorrow and Bliss

Googling “why writers write” is a form of procrastination that authors can classify as work. Sort of tax deductible, as it were, compared to expenditures of time that can’t be claimed back – making honey toast, having a tiny lie down, staring at your face in the mirror for such a long time that it becomes an existential experience, the soul separating from the mortal body by the power of the mind at 11.30 a.m. on a wet Tuesday.

After fifteen years of working at home, unsupervised, accountable to no one, I know to keep away from the toaster, sofa and hall mirror during business hours. But when I feel like I have earned a little break from staring at the arctic expanse of white that is an empty Word document for an entire morning producing nothing except, obviously, shame, I let myself read a listicle, 33 Famous Authors on Why They Write, 24 Fascinating Quotes from Famous Authors on Writing and Why They Do It, for diversion and inspiration. And maybe, most, because I have wondered but never really been able to say why I chose to sit down at the typewriter and bleed (Hemingway, Ernest, 18 Quotes for Writers from Ernest Hemingway, 2014) when I could have been something else. A lawyer, a hedge fund manager, a celebrity dermatologist or whatever job you can actually get with an English degree and an honours thesis on Evelyn Waugh’s construction of masculinity.

Joan Didion writes “entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.” Gloria Steinem because writing is “the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” Judy Blume, because “there were stories burning to get out” and if Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was aflame in your subconscious, you can so imagine writing it out would be “essential to your well-being”. George Orwell wouldn’t have written, had he not been “driven by some demon whom one can neither resist or understand.” Lord Byron had to because “if I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.” He was mad not from a low daily word count so much as syphilis. Still, it’s a glorious reason. They all are. But no.16 from 25 Rare Cormac McCarthy Quotes on Writing (circa 2017) is the one that helped me understand why I write – at all and especially, why I wrote Sorrow and Bliss.

McCarthy said “I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.” The something else I failed at was a book I began writing in February 2018. Months later, it had not come right as I had been telling myself it would if I just stayed at the typewriter and kept bleeding. I bled out, in December, at 85,000 words. I hated all of them and had no heart to try again, so I gave up the manuscript and, in my mind, fiction altogether.

Three months later, I sidled back to my desk. Not to write a second draft or to start on something else, I didn’t let myself call whatever I was doing a novel or tell anyone I was doing it, having so recently announced my resignation.

In that bubble of privacy, I put down whatever I thought was funny, or sad, everything I’d seen or felt or thought, not caring about what might come out because no one besides me was ever going to see it. Especially not my publisher who, I was sure, would find what did come out contract-withdrawingly peculiar.

I don’t know why I changed my mind and sent her the first 40,000 words of Sorrow and Bliss six months later, apologising and describing it as very different from anything I’d ever done and possibly, therefore, the funniest career-suicide note in history. But I do know why I wrote it. Because I couldn’t help myself.

 

Win one of 25 books

HarperCollins is offering you the chance to have an early read of Sorrow and Bliss. Email HarperCollins if you’d like to go in for one of 25 books (to be sent in August) or jump on to Netgalley now to request a digital version.

 

 

 

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