Book: Leap
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Myfanwy Jones is the author of The Rainy Season, shortlisted for The Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award 2009, and co-author of the bestselling Parlour Games for Modern Families, Book of the Year for Older Children ABIA 2010. She lives by a creek in Melbourne with her human and non-human family.


Joe lives-despite himself. Driven by the need to atone for the neglect of a single tragic summer’s night, he works at nothing jobs and, in his spare time, trains his body and mind to conquer the hostile environment that took his love and smashed up his future. So when a breathless girl turns up on the doorstep, why does he let her in? Isn’t he done with love and hope?

Leap - Myf JonesOn the other side of the city, graphic designer Elise is watching her marriage bleed out. She retreats to the only place that holds any meaning for her-the tiger enclosure at the zoo-where, for reasons she barely understands, she starts to sketch the beautiful killers.

Leap is a beautiful urban fairytale about human and animal nature, and the transformative power of grief. While at its heart is a searing absence, this haunting and addictive novel is propelled by an exhilarating life force, and the eternally hopeful promise of redemptive love.

Judges’ Comments:

Twenty-something Joe, who lives in inner-city Melbourne in a shared house and works in bars and cafes, is grieving for his girlfriend, Jen, who died in an accident, for which he blames himself. Elise, Jen’s mother, who lives in middle-class Melbourne, is also grieving. Her marriage is collapsing under the weight and silence of her grief. Both Joe and Elise are paralysed: neither can move past guilt and remembering.

This beautiful novel – with its engaging and spirited characters effortlessly evoked by astute observation and crackling, perfectly weighted dialogue – is about the resolution of grief, not by moving on or forgetting, but by finally accommodating, absorbing and accepting its weight. Joe’s redemption evolves with his developing relationship with a work colleague, which draws him back into life and its possibilities. Elise, too, sufficiently reconciles her pain and her stasis to tentatively return to her marriage.

Leap’s apparent simplicity belies the strength of its narrative and the substance of its ideas. Jones’s taut, clear prose makes for an absorbing and deftly self-assured novel, whose warmly empathetic timbre engrosses the reader along its journey through the fault lines of grief.

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