National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 1996
Miami Beach is the haven of a quirky cast of characters in Stanley Elkin’s wry vision of contemporary culture that won the National Book Award. In this Florida, the bright sunlight is shared by drug lords, health food fanatics, wealthy socialites, and refugees from the Midwest. Why are so many men interested in Mrs. Ted Bliss, newly widowed from a Chicago butcher? Is it her smile, her flawless Buick Le Sabre, or her late husband’s business connections? She is about to find out, as she embarks on an unconventional new life that lures her from the familiar world of her Jewish family. Stanley Elkin’s darkly humorous, sharply perceptive novels have earned him the praise of authors like Saul Bellow and Kurt Vonnegut. You’ll love this sprightly story of love and money, deftly narrated by the incomparable George Guidall.
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Mrs. Ted Bliss a Smash
George Guidall's deft touch brilliantly renders Stanley Elkin's final novel. Although Elkin is generally acclaimed for his verbal pyrotechnics, and dark humor, which are brilliantly on display in Mrs. Ted Bliss, Guidall's recreation of Dorothy Bliss demonstrates Elkin's extraordinary empathy and gift for emotional nuance. Having also read The Conventional Wisdom--and clearly having listened to Elkins' recording of it--Guidall is able to draw attention to the complex similarities between the two works, which are both available on the audible and ought to be part of the audio collection of every serious listener.
- michael joseph