written by Robert Hillman
Text Publishing | ISBN 9781922079916
Paperback – 352 pages
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Leon Joyce's years with Tess Wachowicz began with an Emanuel Ungaro taffeta ballgown, part of his collection of women's attire kept in three wardrobes at the South Yarra house. The collection took in Givenchy, Jacques Fath, Schiaparelli, Madae Grès, Helmut Lang, Claire McCardell, Mainbocher, Miyake, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Travis Banton, Pucci and Antony Price. Leon is a man unburdened by sexual desire. Nonetheless he adores his wife - only partly for the way she wears his exquisite collection of haute couture - and when she becomes ill and dies he is completely shattered. Then he discovers her correspondence with an unknown lover, and his suffering veers towards madness. Leon hunkers down at his neglected country property, Joyful, with the entire local supply of scotch whisky and a bizarre plan to retrieve (posthumously) Tess's devotion. In this extraordinary comedy of grief, Robert Hillman evokes his characters, from the merely unconventional to the frankly deranged, with kindness, grace and wit. Joyful is a gift that will leave the reader deeply moved and filled with delight.