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Bliss by Peter Carey
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Bliss (original 1981; edition 1982)

by Peter Carey

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716713,154 (3.63)40
Member:ashamel
Title:Bliss
Authors:Peter Carey
Info:Picador (1982), Paperback, 281 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Australian, novel

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Bliss by Peter Carey (1981)

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Huh. Though I honestly didn't go into this with clear expectations, character or plot-wise, apart from the fact that it sounded interesting and odd, I'll admit that this went places I wouldn't have expected. Not bad places--well, at least not for the reader. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
To be re-read prior to comment.
  Scribble.Orca | Mar 31, 2013 |
Peter Carey is one of the greatest living novelists, widely tipped to become both Australia’s next Nobel prize winner for literature and the first man to win three Booker prizes. In 2010 I read his second Booker-prize winner, True History of the Kelly Gang, and found it to be a good book that only grew stronger in my memory. So it seems like a good idea to read his entire canon.

Bliss is his first novel, following the unfortunate circumstances of Harry Joy, who has a heart attack one day and dies for nine minutes before being resuscitated. He comes back to find that his wife is cheating on him, his son is selling drugs and his advertising company has for years been promoting carcinogens. He believes himself to literally be in hell.

There’s a strange, semi-dreamlike feeling hanging over much of Bliss, as though you’re reading it through a clouded pane of glass. This is a stylistic choice; apparently many of Carey’s early works have an essence of magical realism to them. Certainly, Carey seems to draw inspiration from Borges and Marquez; South America is often mentioned, and the novel takes place in an unspecified tropical land which is probably Queensland, the prose thick with frangipani and jacarandas and banana trees.

I guess it’s a decent book. It’s the kind of novel that’s difficult to review, because I personally found it boring yet I know it’s objectively good. I still want to read more of Carey, and I own his next book, Illywhacker, but I may skip past that and read his Booker-winning Oscar and Lucinda or the intriguing Jack Maggs. ( )
  edgeworth | Jan 9, 2012 |
I just could not get in to this - maybe I missed a trick and should try again another day ( )
  TpJay | Apr 24, 2011 |
“…I think this is his first novel and I like the way he introduces the dimension of fantasy and magical realism. It is set in the very lush rain forest of northern New South Wales, but suburbia and corporate life creep in. The main character was in advertising. You have also got all the craziness of an alternative lifestyle and breaking free and going into the rainforest. It is almost an environmental novel. The man has been through a near-death experience which is what drives him to break free from his corporate existence. And it has that magical Carey inventiveness which I really like …”(reviewed by Nicholas Jose in FiveBooks.)
The full interview is available here: http://fivebooks.com/interviews/nicholas-jose-on-australian-novels

( )
  FiveBooks | May 11, 2010 |
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Harry Joy was to die three times, but it was his first death which was to have the greatest effect on him, and it is this first death which we shall now witness.
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Bliss is a masterpiece of illusion that marked Peter Carey's brilliant debut as a novelist, and was later made into an award winning film. The dilemma of Harry Joy is both funny and terrifying, for Harry wakes up in Hell, tortured by those he loves, and by the dreams and nightmares he once created for profit. Bliss is a shimmering delight - an acrobatic display of language, character and plot.… (more)

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