Bliss

Peter Carey’s Bliss has absolutely nothing to do with bliss. It’s about a man who thinks he has died and gone to hell. Well, Harry Joy dies temporarily of a heart attack and he’s resuscitated. He wakes up in the hospital and discovers that his wife is sleeping with his partner, his son is selling drugs, and his daughter is selling herself to him to buy them. And just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the joyless Joy, he ends up in a madhouse. So naturally, the poor chap thinks he’s in hell. Hell is a state of mind, and you don’t go there when you die. You crumple up like paper in an old book and go underground, and for myself, I want a little nook at Père Lachaise before Jim Morrison’s lease runs out.