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Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon Bliss single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1981... 1981 Bliss
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'For thirty-nine years Harry Joy has been the quintessential good guy. But one morning Harry has a heart attack on his suburban front lawn, and, for the space of nine minutes, he becomes a dead guy. And although he is resuscitated, he will never be the same. For, as Peter Carey makes abundantly clear in this darkly funny novel, death is sometimes a necessary prelude to real life.' (From the author's website.)

Exhibitions

18388172
18387981

Adaptations

form y separately published work icon Bliss Peter Carey , Ray Lawrence , ( dir. Ray Lawrence ) Australia : Window III Productions , 1985 Z1360296 1985 single work film/TV (taught in 1 units)

When Harry, an executive, suffers a heart attack, he experiences a brief moment of brain death, only to awaken with a far darker vision of the seemingly idyllic world that he's left behind. In quick succession, he learns that his wife is cheating on him, his son has become a drug dealer, and his daughter is a junkie. Even his perfect career has become a nightmare, as he discovers that his latest client is, in fact, a heartless, deadly polluter. Enraged, Harry is determined to live a morally righteous life, a notion that proves anathema to everyone around him.

Bliss Tom Wright , 2018 single work drama

'Harry Joy is the blessed Australian – a childhood of mystical innocence, a home stuffed with love, he brings a smile to all he meets. Then, one warm afternoon on the front lawn, he dies. It’s only for a few minutes – he’s revived. But the world he wakes to is changed; his wife, children and friends all now seem avaricious monsters. And so it dawns on Harry Joy: he hasn’t survived his heart attack at all. He is in Hell.

'Enter Honey Barbara, a hippy from the rainforest, wise to the ways of the big city. She and Harry melt back into the verdant bush, where their children tell a story of a Paradise Found. Found.' (Production summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Picador ,
      1982 .
      image of person or book cover 3337606913979162826.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 281p.
      ISBN: 033026785X (pbk)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Faber ,
      1991 .
      image of person or book cover 2905091912678695337.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 296p.
      ISBN: 9780571162727
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Vintage ,
      1996 .
      image of person or book cover 151978184872330880.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 1v.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 30 January 1996.
      Series: y separately published work icon Vintage International New York (City) : Vintage , 1993- 19532994 1993 series - publisher novel

      'William Faulkner, Philip Roth, Alice Munro, Thomas Mann, Doris Lessing, Albert Camus, V.S. Naipaul, Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, Joan Didion, and Cormac McCarthy, among many others: Vintage International is devoted to publishing the best writing of the past century from the world over. Offering both classic and modern fiction and literary nonfiction in elegant editions, Vintage International aims to provide readers with world-class writing that has stood the test of time and essential works by the preeminent authors of today.'

      Source: Vintage.

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Faber ,
      2001 .
      image of person or book cover 7175872501482496501.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 368p.
      Note/s:
      • Published April 9th 2001
      ISBN: 9780571209798
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Faber ,
      2004 .
      image of person or book cover 3562558101088336781.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 354p.
      ISBN: 9780571225910
    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Random House , 2005 .
      image of person or book cover 9138519293041811575.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 395p.
      ISBN: 9781741660166
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Faber ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 2881971939739494412.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 354p.
      ISBN: 9780571249749
    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Vintage Australia , 2011 .
      image of person or book cover 6578010218649964592.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 304p.
      Note/s:
      • Published July 6th 2011
      • also published as an ebook
      ISBN: 9780307787224
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2015 .
      image of person or book cover 4641217309949086752.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 400p.
      Note/s:
      ISBN: 9780143571247
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin , 2020 .
      image of person or book cover 3244865299519142678.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 400p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 3rd March 2020
      ISBN: 9781760896546
Alternative title: Hurmio
Language: Finnish
    • Helsinki,
      c
      Finland,
      c
      Scandinavia, Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Kirjayhtyma ,
      1983 .
      image of person or book cover 8774586233476143520.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 1 v.p.
      ISBN: 951262429X

Other Formats

  • Adapted for the 1985 audio cassette Bliss published by Royal Blind Society of New South Wales. Narrated by Michael Ross
  • Sound recording. (2019)

Works about this Work

Taking Suburbia Seriously Nathanael O'Reilly , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Exploring Suburbia: The Suburbs in the Contemporary Australian Novel 2012; (p. 249-301)
When the Last Leaf Falls Glen Phillips , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Change - Conflict and Convergence : Austral-Asian Scenarios 2010; (p. 151-165)
In this paper Glen Phillips shows 'how 221 years ago the British and European desire to create a new nation in Australia was partly motivated by a wish to escape the pollution and overcrowding of their nations' cities.' (p152)
American Dreams and the University of Queensland Press Deborah Jordan , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Across the Pacific : Australia-United States Intellectual Histories 2010; (p. 323-338)

'The University of Queensland Press was transformed from a merely scholarly into a creative independent Australian publisher partly through the agency of the American publisher Frank Thompson. In the explosive days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and with Australians' complex fascination with United States, Thompson embodied the democratic challenge to the old British dominated regime on campus and in publishing circles. This paper will explore pivotal books published by UQP notably Thomas Shapcott's Contemporary American and Australian Poetry in 1976; UQP's development of the American market with the distribution of UQP literary fiction and the establishment of an American office; and co-publishing with American publishers and editing Australian books for American readers in a different hemisphere. Thompson's own assessment of his successes and failures will be contextualised in terms of political developments and those issues long associated with Australian literature - environmental representation and expatriatism.' (Author's abstract)

Strategies of an Illywhacker (III) : Telling History as Story Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia 2010; (p. 83-104)
‘Original storytelling is one of the marker traits of Peter Carey’s fictions: it is this characteristic that explains why there is no such thing as a typical Carey novel, only certain features and concerns which recur throughout his fictions.’ (p 84)
Strategies of an Illywhacker (I) : Replacing the Truth-Paradigm with a "Weaseling Kind of "Truth"' Andreas Gaile , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Rewriting History : Peter Carey's Fictional Biography of Australia 2010; (p. 45-57)
'In Peter Carey's novels,...postmodern resistances against essentialism culminate in the figure of the confidence trickster. Such deceitful narrator figures are ideally suited for the task of unmaking history and for testing the boundaries between fact and fiction, reality and illusion, history and story. The role of lies and the creative potential of unreliable narration has intrigued Carey from the late 1970s on, when he first came across a quote from Mark Twain's travelogue More Tramps Abroad (1897.)...'(p. 45)
Peter Carey's First Novel Mark Roberts , 1982 single work review
— Appears in: Going Down Swinging , Spring no. 5 1982; (p. 69-72)

— Review of Bliss Peter Carey , 1981 single work novel
Bliss and Punishment Ken Gelder , 1983 single work review
— Appears in: The CRNLE Reviews Journal , July no. 1 1983; (p. 46-48)

— Review of Bliss Peter Carey , 1981 single work novel
On My Bedside Table Peteris Ciemitis , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 21 June 2008; (p. 28)

— Review of Axiomatic Greg Egan , 1995 selected work short story ; Bliss Peter Carey , 1981 single work novel
Finding Their Range : Some Recent Australian Novels Peter Pierce , 1981 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 40 no. 4 1981; (p. 522-525)

— Review of Turtle Beach Blanche d'Alpuget , 1981 single work novel ; Bliss Peter Carey , 1981 single work novel ; Man of Letters : A Romance Glen Tomasetti , 1981 single work novel ; City of Women : A Novel David Ireland , 1981 single work novel ; Moonlite David Foster , 1981 single work novel ; Monkeys in the Dark Blanche d'Alpuget , 1980 single work novel
Recent Fiction Susan McKernan , 1982 single work review
— Appears in: Overland , July no. 88 1982; (p. 56-59)

— Review of Man of Letters : A Romance Glen Tomasetti , 1981 single work novel ; Whoring Around John Bryson , 1981 selected work short story ; Out of the Corner of One Eye : a novel Fia Moppert , 1981 single work novel ; Bliss Peter Carey , 1981 single work novel ; Dirty Friends : Stories Morris Lurie , 1981 selected work short story
The Art of Storytelling in Peter Carey's Bliss Antonella Riem Natale , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: Il Bianco e il Nero , vol. 1 no. 1994; (p. 127-144)
The Adman Who Wanted to Compile a Cultural Heritage : Peter Carey's Bliss Sue Ryan-Fazilleau , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Commonwealth , Autumn vol. 27 no. 1 2004; (p. 77-88)
Author's abstract: 'Bliss, Peter Carey's first published novel, is the manifesto of a postcolonial writer who believes it necessary to constitute a new cultural heritage both to cure the postcolonial society of its cultural inferiority complex and to protect the new community against neo-imperialism. It is also Carey's ars poetica, which sets out how he will go about constructing an Australian literary heritage in his coming novels' (p.77).
Cross References : Allusions to Christian Tradition in Peter Carey's Fiction Christer Larsson , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Fabulating Beauty : Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey 2005; (p. 53-70)
As allusions to Christian tradition are a recurrent and prominent feature in Carey's work, the author of this article discusses them with regard to their function as thematic feature and as narrational devices or formal feature. Larsson's careful reading shows that several of Carey's novels are 'more firmly rooted in the Christian tradition than the author's self-conception as "an atheist" and the postcolonial condemnation of totalizing, essentialist narratives would lead one to believe' (Introduction to Fabulating Beauty xxx).
The Difficulties of Translating Peter Carey's Postmodern Fiction into Popular Film Theodore F. Sheckels , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Fabulating Beauty : Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey 2005; (p. 83-100)
Argues that 'the film adaptations of Carey's fiction seem to pull the work away from the postmodern aesthetic and, as a consequence, away from what Carey was positing through its use. The films offer something more modern or realistic, thereby confusing or altering Carey's themes' (81).
Bliss and Damnation Nicholas Jose , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Fabulating Beauty : Perspectives on the Fiction of Peter Carey 2005; (p. 137-147)
'Jose, as fellow novelist, considers Carey's position in the world of Australian letters, recalling the cultural atmosphere of the early 1980s, when Bliss was first published. From Jose's critical appraisal Carey emerges not only as a "literary Houdini" but also as a writer whose fiction "broke new ground" at the time, signifying a "break from the shackling domination of literary London"' (Introduction to Fabulating Beauty xxxi).
Last amended 11 Jun 2020 11:11:09
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