Joy Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012
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"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)
JOY is a hugely inventive, ambitious and absorbing novel about pleasure, love, loss, and work by ‘a major new voice in British fiction’ (Guardian).See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
It took me a little while to get comfortable with the style of this novel. Some of the chapters are told directly from the point of view of Joy herself, taking us through the day of the accident and looking back on events in her past. After her traumatic fall, there is also a counsellor brought into the company to offer support, and other characters address their stories to this unnamed person. There is Dennis, Joy’s husband, Peter, her colleague and husband of her friend, Christine, Samir, who works in the office gym and suffers from OCD and Joy’s irascible, resentful PA, Barbara.
As the book unfolds, we hear of the office politics in the firm of solicitors that is Hanger, Slyde and Stein. Of successful careers accompanied by suffering private lives, of affairs, work fatigue, impossibly long hours, office gossip, personal ambition and, over all, the tragedy in Joy’s life which has led to an estrangement with her sister, Annie and the guilt that consumes her.
This is an intelligent, well written and interesting novel, which I enjoyed greatly. I look forward to reading Lee’s first novel, “Who is Mr Satoshi?” and to reading any future work of his. I was very impressed with this and with, “High Dive,” and recommend both novels highly.
Lee lifts the lid off a fiercely competitive, cynical world of high flyers, most of whom have taken a step away from living according to any rules except the pursuit of empty pleasure, driven by ambition and materialism
Joy Stephens is one of the brittle, successful lawyers, presently fighting the corner for a corrupt fast food company, whose Poutry Products (McNuggetKentucky type things) are being challenged by radicals, concerned about the environment, animal welfare and human health.
Stephens is about to get one of the golden prizes, and be made up to partner. However, (as is made clear in the blurb, so no spoilers) her life is seriously unravelling, for reasons which the reader will discover, and she is planning a dramatic suicide on the day of her promotion.
The structure of the book intercuts the events, within a time frame, of what Joy has planned to be her last day on earth. Joy’s day is described in third person narration.
Intercut with this are four other voices, who narrate their stories first person to an unnamed trauma counsellor, who has been hired by the legal firm to offer support to people affected by seeing Joy fall forty feet and land on a marble floor, whilst they were gathered to celebrate and toast her public promotion. The firm were planning a glitzy party and she was meant to be the golden one of the hour, not a a public splatter of blood and bone on the party floor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enough drama to keep you turning the pages, and an amusing insight into the world of a London law firm. Possibly not (too) accurate but fun nonetheless. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Joy Stephens is a young successful lawyer. She is going to become a partner in a law firm and on that day before her welcoming speech falling from a height of several tens of... Read morePublished on 27 Aug. 2013 by Ray Garraty
Really fantastic book by a relatively new author. Highly original and engrossing. Great characters and a wonderfully dark and slightly seedy storyline. Read morePublished on 20 Mar. 2013 by Strong Cheddar
The problem with this book is that, while it tries to be funny, while it tries to be literary, it achieves neither because it all feels so deliberate. Read morePublished on 27 Jan. 2013 by Sigby
Having hugely enjoyed Who Is Mr Satoshi, I delved straight into Jonathan Lee's latest with high hopes. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2012 by Shornexe
Joy was my choice for a recent book club, the discussion of which took place this week. It was a lively one! Read morePublished on 30 Aug. 2012 by Samantha Durham
Jon Lee has written a wonderfully touching book in 'Joy'.
He manages to find the vulnerability in even the hardest of characters and captures the realities of life in a... Read more