Helen Brindle thinks she has lost God -- but it is simply love that she's missing. She certainly can't find it at home, with the violent, deadly Mr. Brindle: trapped in an abusive marriage, tormented by existential and personal doubt, she suffers from insomnia, emotional paralysis, and pathological inhibition. Until she meets Edward E. Gluck...a renowned genius and group mental healer, guru to people like Helen through his famous self-help process; privately, he is a self-despising pornography fiend, painfully obsessed with masturbation and self-punishment, unable to employ his own fatuous self-help techniques to overcome his personal disgust and psychological anemia.
Original Bliss tells the story of an excrutiatingly awkward courtship between two soul-sick people -- the one brutally shy, the other an exhibitionist -- who find with each other a moment of perfect union, and a way to break out of their isolation. By turns acerbic and tender, and with remarkable economy and precision, A.L. Kennedy writes about the attempt to close emotional distances and fill physical voids, the aching need for completion and healing. A brilliant American debut from one of Scotland's finest young writers.
The Scots regard [Kennedy] as a national treasure. ...Kennedy's telling [of Mrs. Brindle's story] a balance brokered among character and narrative and voice makes Original Bliss the kind of 'Full Monty' experience that will leave readers hungering for more.