Sorrow and Bliss: a reflection of realism

Megan Mason’s debut novel, Sorrow and Bliss, brings the readers a healthy dose of reality with its smart but self-sabotaging character, Martha Friel, as she navigates the emotional turbulence brought on by her mental health, career, and relationships.

A hybrid of the novel The Bell Jar, and the dark comedy series Fleabag, Mason’s astounding way of portraying how multifaceted mental illnesses can be with strong wit and candour, is what truly brings the novel to life. Being a character-driven story, the novel not only shows how Martha’s life is affected but also how the illness embeds itself in the lives of her loved ones as well. Besides this, the makeup of the protagonist is realistic to the point that it almost demands relatability. Martha’s inner monologue is acerbic, sarcastic, and downright cynical at times. Nonetheless, as the readers progress through the novel, Martha’s character development becomes the focal point, and it provides a nuanced depiction of what it means to strive to make amends and heal.

Drifting from Martha’s complicated life due to her insidious disease to the comedic gold of a relationship with her sister Ingrid, Sorrow and Bliss is every bit of its title. 

Rubina Nusrat Puspa

Rubina Nusrat Puspa is the Opinions and Academics editor at BRACU Express. She is a third-year student majoring in Media and Cultural studies in the department of English and Humanities at BRAC University. Reach her at rubina.nusrat.puspa@g.bracu.ac.bd

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