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Joy Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434020427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434020423
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Lee was born in Surrey in 1981.

He graduated from the University of Bristol with a First in English Literature and then, after spending some time living in South America, went on to become a solicitor at a City law firm. In 2007 he was posted to the firm's Tokyo office, and during his time there became increasingly interested in Japanese culture and history.

On his return to London he began writing his acclaimed first novel, Who is Mr Satoshi? (William Heinemann). On publication in July 2010 Who Is Mr Satoshi? was called "elegant and incisive" (Observer), "confident, sharply written and refreshingly direct" (Independent), and "dream-like ... an unusual, clever and playful book" (Daily Mail).

Jonathan Lee's second novel is Joy (published by William Heinemann on 7 June 2012). Catherine O'Flynn, author of What Was Lost, has called it 'a brilliant book ... Jonathan Lee is one of those rare, agile writers who can take your breath away'.

www.jonathan-lee.net


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Review

"A brilliant book... Jonathan Lee is one of those rare, agile writers who can take your breath away." (Catherine O’Flynn, author of What Was Lost)

"Exquisitely and surprisingly written…[Joy] proves that Lee is a significant talent and that his future work should be well worth awaiting." (Observer)

"Outstanding ... a forensic portrayal of despair that shows Lee to be an exceptional, brave prose stylist... Funny and humane, Joy is an enormously impressive piece of storytelling." (Tom Williams Literary Review)

"Jonathan Lee’s second novel, Joy (William Heinemann), charts the final day in the life of a high-flying young lawyer. Lee writes with extraordinary vividness, with prose so sharply defined it takes your breath away." (Elizabeth Day Observer (Books of the Year 2012))

"With its supple prose, ingenious structure, wit and slow-burn sympathy, Joy is a sly miracle of a novel." (A.D. Miller)

"Lee constructs office scenes easily, weaving together numerous characters and dialogues with flair…the writing crackles." (Independent on Sunday)

"A major new voice in British fiction." (Guardian)

Book Description

JOY is a hugely inventive, ambitious and absorbing novel about pleasure, love, loss, and work by ‘a major new voice in British fiction’ (Guardian).

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By I Readalot TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
In July 2010 I read Jonathan Lee's debut 'Who is Mr Satoshi' and looked forward to his 'difficult second novel'. 'Joy' has confirmed that he is not a one hit wonder. 'Mr Satoshi' asked the question can we really 'know' anyone 'Joy' covers similar ground but in a totally different way. The eponymous heroine is in a coma having plummeted 40 feet from a viewing platform in front of work colleagues on the day she is made partner of her law firm. It happened at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. Suicide, accident or something more sinister? The novel winds its way into revealing the truth using an unusual narrative structure. The first and every alternate chapter follows Joy from the Thursday night, her experiences, thoughts, memories and intentions. The other chapters are written as a form of monologue as 4 characters take turns to talk to a counsellor, the counsellor is silent but his questions become apparent from the answers given. It gave me the feeling that I was the counsellor, quietly taking notes and trying to make sense of what was being said.

These 4 characters represent different facets of Joy's life, Dennis, her husband, Peter, a colleague, her PA Barbara and fitness instructor Samir. Each colourful character has their own voice, quirks and personality, Samir suffers from OCD and Barbara believes everything will be fine if she could just visit her sister Jackie in the States. Dennis is on 'sabbatical' from the university and finds solace in books and Peter has a thing about rubber bands! We learn about Joy through them but there are pieces of the puzzle missing, things that none of them know which only come to light through Joy's personal narrative.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Josefina Cade on 8 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having read the 'blurb' I downloaded this book under the mistaken impression that it was a crime novel set in a London law firm. Joy's fall does crash straight through the carefully preserved corporate facade of Hanger, Slyde & Stein, but in fact this is a heartbreaking story with an overwhelmingly poetic and melancholic feel. It is also extremely funny. Jonathan Lee is generous with his words, an odd thing to say about a writer, but each phrase and sentence is beautifully assembled. Any part of this book can be randomly accessed and a prose poem discovered, with humour and tragedy intermingled. Jonathan Lee never produces 'auto pilot' plot driven writing.

We are given the points of view of five characters, five voices of a Greek chorus in an interwoven story that rotates around a central event. Jonathan Lee captures the unexpected arrival of disaster perfectly, those fateful minutes that turn an ordinary day into a major tragedy. The characters have no way to rewind the tape or to erase their actions. The last three monologues in particular are superb, heartfelt prose poems. There are tiny allusions to T.S. Eliot, a poet to whom I would connect Jonathan Lee. Watch this writer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By OllyR on 17 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd really enjoyed Jonathan Lee's first novel, 'Who is Mr Satoshi?', so I was looking forward to his second. It didn't disappoint; in fact it was even better. The initial question of how and why Joy falls from a balcony in her law firm is just the start of a story that widens and deepens in its scope and ambition.

The complex characters, wry humour and gripping intertwined plotlines kept me enthralled from beginning to end. It's written with great style and erudition too. There is bleakness here - the darker sides of human nature are unsparingly depicted. But this finely wrought novel also points the way towards some sort of redemption. I can't recommend 'Joy' enough & look forward to the next one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By shelia on 25 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I felt this book was going to be about how hard law firms work their trainees and with some terrible stories that dispel the myth that being a lawyer is really glamorous. This book is not about that, it's so much more than that.

First of all it's worth mentioning the format of the chapters, which are set out so you are following a course of a day, and every other chapter you are privy to some characters conversations with a therapist. This book looks into the ideas of suicide and how those feelings play out and how plans for a suicide come together.

It's interesting in the therapists chapters, the reader never hears from the therapist so it can feel that the reader is the therapist as we predict the answers into the dialogue. This I think is the bit that makes you reflect more on the questions the author is subtly posing about suicide.

I wasn't expecting to like this book as the characters are hard to like and relate to in the beginning, but this is because as the chapters go on we are peeling back the layers of these characters. Learning their pasts, understanding their present and anticipating what their future will be. The style of this book is utterly refreshing and engaging, even if not joyful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By leakym on 13 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkable novel. Lee not only penetrates the depths of the tortured female mind with utter conviction and clarity, he also offers the reader a deliciously dark satire on the behaviour of some of the rich and powerful in the city of London.

Lee explores the insurmountable human price paid for treachery and lust, whilst seamlessly interweaving hilarity throughout (often at the darkest times). This beautifully tragic and comic story meant I couldn't sleep until it was finished. (Bed time on a week night- 3am!). And my goodness, what an ending...

Those with a penchant for the dark, the comic, the human, the tragic - read it today.
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