Find out about the Miles Franklin longlisted novel Leap by Myfanwy Jones, described as an ‘urban fairytale about human and animal nature’. This review is taken from our June issue of last year and was written by Lauren Cook.
Leap by Myfanwy Jones
Set in Melbourne, this novel explores the impact of grief on its characters. Joe is a young man in stasis – doing little with his life since the death of his high school girlfriend. He works various cafe and bar jobs, but can’t seem to make a commitment to the teaching career he would really like. The only passion he has is parkour – the extreme sport that involves negotiating obstacles in an urban environment – and the physical training regime that allows him to run up walls and leap from building to building. One day a mysterious nurse arrives to rent a room in his share house, who stimulates a journey of awakening for Joe, who must make some active decisions about where his life is going.
Elise, who lost a child many years ago, is also still in mourning. She consoles herself with regular visits to the zoo where she stares for long hours at the tiger cage. At home, she is distanced from her husband and spends hours reading about suicide by tiger. Things look grim for her.
Elise begins as a small part of the narrative, but her role gradually builds to take up a larger part of the book towards the end as the connections between characters become apparent and Elise and Joe come to terms with their grief.
It’s a raw and rewarding novel, and if you persevere with the slow start and the unusual writing style – author Myfanwy Jones doesn’t always use full sentences, which drove me mad in the beginning – you will find much to enjoy here.
4 stars – Allen and Unwin $26.99