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Original Bliss by A.L. Kennedy

Original Bliss (edition 1998)

by A.L. Kennedy

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236478,557 (3.8)6
A Scottish matron made miserable by an abusive husband flies to Germany to seek advice from a TV sex therapist. The sex is great, but his taste for pornography turns her off, so she leaves him, only to seek him out again.
Title:Original Bliss
Authors:A.L. Kennedy
Info:Vintage (1998), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:literature, scotland, short stories, sexuality

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Original Bliss: Stories by A. L. Kennedy



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An extremely powerful very well-written novel, essentially about the hatred and self-hatred of women in our culture. It affected me profoundly. It takes some courage to read it. ( )
  bobbieharv | Jul 15, 2019 |
Come al solito, da mozzare il fiato. Soprattutto il racconto che dà il titolo alla raccolta. Ce ne fossero di più, di libri così - che spolpano la vita e ti restituiscono la voglia di pensare. ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
Helen Brindle, a Scottish homemaker, was raised to believe that sex is evil and that men are dangerous because all they want is sex. It’s not surprising, then, that her marriage is an unhappy, and indeed abusive, one, but at least she has her religion to bolster her. When she loses her faith and becomes unable to pray, she has a deep existential crisis. She can no longer sleep and, in fact can barely even function. Watching television one day, she sees pop psychologist Edward E. Gluck, whose “New Cybernetics” promise a road to fulfillment. In contrast to the self-effacing Helen, Edwards has a level of self-regard that seems to have grown out of the doting attention of his mother, who, when he was child, told him that the trains he heard from his bedroom window were calling his name “Edward E Gluck, Edward E Gluck, Edward E Gluck.” Helen travels to Germany where Edward is delivering a set of public lectures, and an instant, a powerful, magnetic bond forms between them. But Helen, of course, is married, and Edward turns out to have powerful demons of his own: he is a compulsive masturbator and pornography addict.

“Original Bliss” is the story of Helen, Edward, and Helen’s husband, whom we know only as Mr. Brindle. Quirky, violent, at times disturbing and at other times beautiful, it is a story of love as salvation, brilliantly written in intelligent, unflinching prose. ( )
  Pennydart | Apr 3, 2011 |
I don't know when I've read a book of serious fiction where I've been both enchanted with the language and unable to put the book down. This short book I read in a little over a day and that a holiday as well where I was busily taken up with other things. I'm currently trying not to by new hardbacks so I bypassed Kennedy's new novel, Paradise, for an older novel. It came just as I was packing to leave for my sister's for the holiday. It was small and seemed a likely thing to read on the weekend. I loved the novel. It's a love story. Neither sentimental and trite nor unbelievable. With a fresh and interesting approach, completely original charaters and a strong plot (so many novels these days are weak on plot). The writing is distinct and absolutely precise. Here's a writer who's obviously thought about every word with some care, eschews phrases that fly around in the ether--in fact put every one together herself. (I get really bored with writers who just pull their language out of the air and aren't responsible for much creative in terms of language.) At the same time, Kennedy's writing is spare and clean. There's never too much detail because the detail she picks is so carefully chosen and presented that the reader is left with few doubts. I'm not going to tell you the plot because part of the joy of the novel is that it's so improbable that such a plot would be so perfect (besides you can get some of that on Amazon if you want). I suppose I should tell you that if you don't like explicit sexual detail in what you read this one isn't for you, though Kennedy doesn't wallow in explicit detail--indeed she doesn't wallow in anything--is totally in control throughout. One will read a Kennedy novel in the future not because it's a plot one is interested in but because one will be curious to see how she will treat this new subject. ( )
  fourbears | Apr 24, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. L. Kennedyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aceto, FedericaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In German, title story published separately as Gleißendes Glück, other stories in Ein makelloser Mann
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