Describe your new book (your elevator pitch)
As the author, it’s impossible to know what you’ve actually created during all those solitary hours at your desk but if I heard someone else describe Sorrow and Bliss as The Bell Jar meets When Harry Met Sally but British, I would be secretly overjoyed.
One moment from your book that will hook readers in?
The first full scene in the book is Martha’s fortieth birthday party, which she spends much of locked in an ambulant bathroom, crying. Why, and what her adoring husband Patrick does in consequence the next morning, is the moment their story suddenly begins and - I hope! - the point that will compel readers all the way to its unexpected end.
Photo by Grant Sparkes Carroll
Sorrow and Bliss has been compared to Fleabag and Normal People. What are some of your literary inspirations?
Nancy Mitford, forever and always – in life and in literature. And, in particular for Sorrow and Bliss, Barbara Trapido whose novel Brother of the More Famous Jack made me realise that if you fill a sad scene with jokes and make funny scenes quietly heartbreaking, it feels much more like real life.
What's your favourite recent read?
Oh my goodness, Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe, an incredible non-fiction book about Northern Ireland during The Troubles, told through the life of a single mother of nine who was disappeared by the IRA. Although it doesn’t sound like a classic beach read, I did read it on the beach last summer because I couldn’t do anything else until I’d finished it.
Your characters are so relatable, especially the sibling relationship between Martha and Ingrid. Who was your favourite character to write?
I was always so happy whenever I was writing and realised that Ingrid was about to walk on because she’s just does and says whatever she wants. But, after I finished the book, I realised that it’s Peregrine I miss the most, Martha’s best friend who is a sixty-something editor of World of Interiors, upper class, deeply cultured, a wearer of silk scarves, former Quaalude addict, and the one who ships her off to his pied-a-terre in Paris to recover from heartbreak.
Sorrow and Bliss is available in store and online now. A Dymocks exclusive edition of You Be Mother by Meg Mason is now available for a special price of $14.99 as part of our B Format Editions offer. Offer ends 1 February 2021.