by Peter Carey

Paperback, 1996

Call number





Vintage (1996), 304 pages


This novel, by the author of Oscar and Lucinda, tells the story of a man who, recovering from death, is convinced that he is in hell. For the first time in his life, Harry Joy sees the world as it really is, and takes up a notebook to explore and note down the true nature of the Underworld.

User reviews

LibraryThing member hippietrail
At the time I read this years ago it was one of my favourite books.
LibraryThing member Seamusoz
This is Peter Carey's first great book and describes both a time in recent history and the awakening of a man. Recommended Reading
LibraryThing member edgeworth
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.
… (more)
LibraryThing member -sunny-
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.




0679767193 / 9780679767190
Page: 0.3464 seconds