Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Original Bliss has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Original Bliss Paperback – January 25, 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.00
$0.18 $0.01

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$13.00 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Original Bliss
  • +
  • Everything You Need: A Novel
  • +
  • All the Rage: Stories
Total price: $47.63
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Only a writer of rare talent could take an abused housewife and a pornography addict and weave around them a terrifically tender love story. A.L. Kennedy starts her extraordinary novel in Glasgow, Scotland, where Helen Brindle leads a life of quiet despair. Mrs. Brindle has lost her "original bliss," her ability to pray and to have her prayers answered. "She found she had lost the power of reaching out. Now and again she could force up what felt like a shout, but then know it had fallen back against her face. Finally the phrases she attempted dwindled until they were only a background mumbling mashed in with the timeless times she had asked for help." Enter Edward E. Gluck, an expert in cybernetics, whom Helen hears first on the television and then on radio. Dr. Gluck seems so effortlessly self-confident, so sure of himself that on impulse she arranges a trip to Stuttgart where he is participating in a conference, hoping that he can give her the answers she's looking for.

After an uncomfortable first meeting, Helen and Edward soon discover themselves to be kindred spirits. For if she has lost the ability to reach out, he never had it; pornography is his substitute for human connections: "The books, the magazines, I could use them according to my schedule, they seemed perfectly convenient and unshameful. Naturally, at that point I didn't quite realize I'd end up having private carrier's lorries arriving to dump shifty, plain, brown packages, addressed for only me, at every house and research establishment I would ever be associated with." Kennedy works a miracle here, creating in Edward a character with creepy proclivities who is, nonetheless, utterly lovable. And when these two damaged people finally rediscover their bliss in each other, nothing could seem more right or more natural. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The prose in Glasgow writer Kennedy's wrenching first U.S. publication both mesmerizes with its musicality and startles with the frankness of its sexual detail. Glasgow matron Helen Brindle's search for someone "who would tell her what was wrong and how to right it" bats her back and forth between an abusive husband and Edward E. Gluck, a sex-obsessed self-help guru whom she first sees on a late-night TV program about masturbation. When Helen flies to Stuttgart where Gluck is lecturing on his patented "Process" for self-improvement, romance blossoms between them. But Helen's discovery of Gluck's weakness for a particularly repulsive form of pornography spooks her into returning to Mr. Brindle. In her terrifying world, pious Helen has only God to hold on to through bouts of stomach-turning abuse and compromised love. As Kennedy charts Helen's course and her flights from Brindle to Gluck and back again, the narrative is relentless and often grim. Relief comes to the reader at the story's end, when Helen's intense religous faith is justified. Not for the faint of heart, or for those made wary by liberal use of the G-word, this novel manages to address its characters' deep pathos brazenly, and without apology. (Jan.) FYI: Kennedy was named as one of the 20 best new British writers by Granta in 1993.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375702784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375702785
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,136,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I greatly admire what A.L. Kennedy accomplishes in her telling of "Original Bliss." She takes two characters, each ensnared by a different brand of loneliness which neither fully comprehends, and has them coming together to establish a sacred bond of compassionate love. To put it more succinctly, Kennedy gives us an author porno-addict and a spiritually lost housewife, and develops an unexpectedly tender love story beginning with their shaky first encounter. Further, A.L. Kennedy realizes a fundamental truth which seems to escape many others: fascination with pornography has more to do with loneliness than with anything else! I cannot understand why this book would offend -- it looks at dark areas of the human heart and says, "here, too, the light of compassion may shine."
Comment 9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If we do not have faith that this beautifully- shaped, sharply observed, often darkly comic story will arrive at the destination we anticipate, we might well find the novel all but impossible to read. Likewise, we need to believe in the narrative voice, that it has the authority and ability to perform multiple triangulations as it reveals the details of of lives that are lonely, bereft, corporeal. Every Cinderella tale risks providing a too-easy solution, and this one comes perilously close. Fortunately, we and the story are brought around by the writer's keen insight and gorgeous, edgy, compressed, sensual, poised, precise, vivid, surprising language that fairly bristles with life on the page.
Comment 7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
A.L. Kennedy Knopf, Jan 199, $21.00, 214 pp. ISBN: 0-375-40272-1

In Glasgow, Helen Brindle wonders what she ever did to become trapped in a marriage to her verbally abusive and violent spouse. Her ego is so shattered that Helen suffers from an A to Z list of mental disorders.
Desperate for help, Helen reads a book on mental healing by the self-proclaimed guru Edward Gluck. Helen decides he can actually help her and travels to Stuttgart to obtain the renowned Edward's aid. Helen and Edward are immediately attracted to one another, but he has as many phobias as she has. Worse yet, unlike her, he does not trust his own mental healing techniques. Ultimately Helen returns home, but Edward keeps sending her postcards confessing his love for her. When the abusive Mr. Brindle intercepts one, Helen's life is in danger from his reaction, leaving it up to Edward to hopefully come to his beloved's rescue.
ORIGINAL BLISS demonstrates why A.L. Kennedy is considered one of the top Scottish writers today. Her relationship story line constantly moves forward, but it is the depth of the characters that turn this into a wonderful reading experience. The three prime players all suffer from some form of mental disorder that either leaves them paralyzed, self-loathing, or violent. However, readers will feel empathy towards Helen, pity towards Edward, and disgust towards Mr. Brindle. This novel is a great relationship drama, starring individuals whose flaws overwhelm them.

Harriet Klausner
Comment 8 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
A. L. Kennedy's writing is nothing if not economical. She certainly knows how to put words on a page that get immediately to the point. In that sense, she resembles a pornographer in her style, but her message has much more to it than raw lust. Her two main characters in this novel are obsessed unhappy people who know something is very wrong within themselves but can't find the key to self-healing and redemption. Only through genuine fumbling about and a little focused concentration, as well as the catalyst of hormonal attraction, do they finally manage to have some breakthroughs. In that sense there is light in this otherwise bleak novel of abuse, obsession, and self-negation. One wonders how these people got into such dire straits. Is Mrs. Brindle's problem really that she's lost touch with God, or does she have a clinical case of depression that perhaps some zolof or prozac can alleviate? And how did Gluck become so crazed with pornography? Was he really lusting after his mother his whole life but didn't know it? The author needed to make their stories a bit more plausible rather than just setting these folks in motion with not much of a preamble. And Mr. Brindle is merely a monster, a very scary monster, to be sure, and one we have not a shread of sympathy for, but he's yet another force set into motion here rather than a plausible human being. Still, the book is interesting, and the writing style kept me involved even though I ultimately felt a little crazed myself by the time I turned the last page. A. L. Kennedy, like Jonathan Coe, is a writer to be watched. I hope she doesn't get stuck with the themes of this novel, but does something completely different, but with equal skill and force.
Comment 6 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
An truly original voice that meditates on the relationship between guilt and desire, god and physical pleasure and desire, creating indelible characters that you will not forget.
Comment 7 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
A L Kennedy is regarded as one of today's most promising young writers. Her writing, her way with words, is decidedly contemporary, modernist and may not appeal to readers bred on novels styled the old school way. Kennedy favours the intensely emotional, the dysfunctional and the unmentionable for her subjects. She also believes in the value of shocks, which she delivers with the use of brutally strong language. But you're not offended because it somehow feels right. The honesty and nakedness of the emotions she writes about is made all the more real by the starkness of its expression.
"Original Bliss (OB)" is about how two unspeakably damaged souls find solace and healing in each other. Helen Brindle, the battered housewife, is too numb to feel pain anymore. She has lost her life force, her line of communication with God and makes a desperate connection with cybernetics expert Edward Gluck after she sees him on TV. Unbenown to Helen, her would-be saviour is in a private hell of his own. He loses himself completely in his intellectual pursuit to forget he can't feel and finds unrelenting relief in pornography. Their first unhopeful meeting at a conference in Stuttgart leads to a relationship which can't be adequately described or pidegeonholed as an affair because that would be too limiting. Their relationship is both tentative and desperate. Like two wounded animals touching each other as a prelude to rediscovering their own beating hearts. Kennedy's prose is choppy, claustrophobic and suffocating but how else should it be if we're to understand Helen's and Edward's predicament ? We also mustn't forget Mr Brindle, Helen's abusive husband. He's a monster and inexcusable even if he doesn't know it himself.
OB isn't exactly an easy or pleasant read. It's edgy and awkward in parts.
Read more ›
Comment 3 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Original Bliss
This item: Original Bliss
Price: $13.00
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?