Mrs. Ted Bliss by Stanley Elkin
(American Literature (Dalkey Archive))

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Elkin’s National Book Critics Circle Award–winning classic: The story of an elderly woman who suddenly becomes mixed up in a world of criminals and con artists  After her beloved husband dies of cancer, Dorothy Bliss is consigned to a life of tedium, waiting out her remaining years in a Miami beachside community shared precariously by its Jewish and Latino residents. When Dorothy attends a series of parties intended to lighten the community’s racial tensions, she is unwittingly pulled into a world of drug smuggling, con artistry, and underground gambling—and a series of adventures that will renew her passion for life. At once heartfelt and hilarious, Mrs. Ted Bliss is a captivating novel of an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances, reconciling the regrets of her past and rediscovering adventure in the twilight of her life. This ebook features rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate and from the Stanley Elkin archives at Washington University in St. Louis.




About Stanley Elkin

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Without a bestseller to his credit or a lot of critical attention, Stanley Elkin has steadily, quietly worked his way into the higher ranks of contemporary American novelists. He was born in New York, but grew up in Chicago and has spent most of his life since in the Midwest, receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois with a dissertation on William Faulkner and teaching since 1960 at Washington University in St. Louis. Reviewers found Elkin's first novel, Boswell: A Modern Comedy (1964), the story of an uninhibited modern-day counterpart of the eighteenth-century biographer, hilarious and promising, while the stories in Criers and Kibitzers, Kibitzers and Criers (1966) established Elkin as a writer capable of writing short stories of textbook-anthology quality. The ironically entitled A Bad Man (1967) is about a Jewish department store magnate who deliberately arranges to have himself convicted of several misdeeds so that he can experience the real world of a prison and carry on his own war with the warden in what takes on the dimensions of a burlesque existential allegory. The Dick Gibson Show (1971) uses the host of a radio talk show as a way of showing fancifully what it means to live "at sound barrier," and both Searchers and Seizures (1973) and The Living End (1979) are triptychs of related stories verging on surrealism. The Franchiser (1976), generally considered Elkin's best novel before George Mills, uses the story of a traveling salesman of franchises to show the flattening homogenization of American life. But as usual, what happens in this Elkin novel is less important than the way in which the story is told.
Published October 26, 2010 by Open Road Media. 255 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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An extremely vexing if entertaining novel about an 80-year-old Jewish widow, by the late master of obsessive dark humor (Van Gogh's Room at Aries, 1993, etc.).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Mrs. Ted Bliss (American Lite...

Publishers Weekly

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Elkin's last novel, about a Jewish widow's waning years in a Miami condo, won the NBCC fiction prize. (Dec.)

Dec 02 1996 | Read Full Review of Mrs. Ted Bliss (American Lite...

Publishers Weekly

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The title of Elkin's latest could not be more apt: it refers to the book's main character and, with a minimum of fuss, connotes a good deal of the woman's identity, self-image and history. Dorothy Bli

Sep 04 1995 | Read Full Review of Mrs. Ted Bliss (American Lite...

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