A beautiful, urban fairy tale about
human and animal nature,
and the transformative power of grief

 

LEAP

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?

On 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.

Read the beginning >

Reading group notes >

Q&A with Book Birdy >

Q&A with Holly Goes Lightly >

Myf chats with Kate Evans on Radio National's BooksPlus

Ten per cent of royalties from LEAP go towards the WWF Save Tigers Now campaign.


As I read LEAP, I often found myself thinking about the characters during the day - each of them crept under my skin and stayed there, their grief and joy becoming part of me. To achieve this is the mark of a fine writer, a writer who knows how to draw us in by portraying what it is to love and lose in a real sense, and also with a sense of mystery.
— Georgia Blain, author of The Secret Lives of Men
An engrossing and compassionate novel that beautifully illuminates the complex interplay of grief, laughter, passion and joy.
— Paddy O'Reilly, author of The Wonders
A book that is gripping, tender and endowed with a touch of magic. Much of this is due to language. In LEAP, stems of wild orchids become ‘troupes of tiny golden ballet dancers’ and a suburban street ‘is curved like a smile with weatherboard teeth’. Joe describes himself early on as an actor in a ‘sloppy play’, but with such poetic precision and pulsating plot, LEAP is anything but.
The Saturday Paper
There is much to admire about a book that has such affection for its struggling characters. LEAP knows a lot about pain. It is honest in the way it avoids soft landings.
— Michael McGirr, The Age
Reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas’s tortured protagonists, there’s a visceral quality to Jones’s poetic handle on the rocky emotional landscape these two souls stumble across... with an almost symbiotic connection between the pair that draws you inexorably towards their deeply personal resolutions.
— Stephen A. Russell, The New Daily
This vivid, poetic Melbourne novel entwines two narratives driven by grief... Myfanwy balances the stasis of her all-too-real characters with language that bolts along, almost too fast for its syntax to follow. It’s immersive, heart-bruising stuff.
The Weekly Review
There’s no fluff in this book, every word and sentence serves a purpose... LEAP is a character-driven novel, uniquely structured and written and trusts that the reader is smart enough to figure out the messages that lie beneath the text. I’d definitely recommend this novel.
Australian Bookshelf
Tender moments abound in this honest and uplifting tale... Elise uses her art ‘to get to it, the elusive unnamable thing’. So does Jones, with great success.
— Naama Amram, Australian Book Review
Melbourne comes to life in this engrossing novel, with its varied cast of characters, whip-smart dialogue and intimate sense of place. LEAP is contemporary, immediate, fast-paced, but also tender and reflective – a rare achievement.
— Lisa Gorton, author of The Life of Houses
A gentle, lyrical, evocative portrait of longing and loss that transforms the fabric of everyday life into luminous vignettes of cinematic detail. This is a tender and surprising book.
— Kalinda Ashton, author of The Danger Game
True to its title, there is an energetic push to Myfanwy Jones’s second novel LEAP - the clear sense, even as it starts, that the narrative knows where it wants to land... LEAP is about how to escape the tentacles of grief or, more conventionally put, about ‘moving on’. But there is no convention in this novel; its insights and language are unusually robust and alive.
— Gretchen Shirm, The Australian
Tender and heart-warming, this is a deeply engaging and satisfying read, full of characters who are flawed and failing in ways that readers will recognise and care about. The writing has the springy, sure-footed skill of a confidently executed leap of faith, of forgiveness, or perhaps even of hope.
— Caroline Baum, Booktopia Buzz
With a narrative that has all the agility, grace and momentum of parkour, Myfanwy Jones’s novel is leaps and bounds ahead of the pack in recent published fiction.
— Richard Cotter, Sydney Arts Guide
Myfanwy Jones has created totally believable characters whose grief can truly be felt. The novel is sad and funny, quirky and original and, most of all, filled with hope.
The New Zealand Herald
It’s the patient, sometimes imperceptible shifts in the novel’s characters, as they are moved by unconscious optimism, that are a pleasure to discover.
— David Sornig, The Adelaide Review
...a novel of small but powerful proportions, whose strength lies in its poetic precision, the depth of its character development and its intimate sense of place. Jones explores themes of love and grief through an artful dual narrative that is subtle, honest and immediately engaging.
Canberra Weekly
LEAP explores loss and guilt, but is far from a depressing read. Joe and Elise are strangers who are united by their grief in this funny, moving and quirky tale. Jones’s engaging prose is pure joy for readers.
The Age Sunday Life Magazine
A taut, sexy novel about heartbreak, redemption and pushing the human body to its limits. Made me feel like an everyday walk down the street could be just one footstep away from flight.
— Fran Cusworth, author of The Love Child
As someone who has been training for eight years, it’s refreshing to see an accurate and respectful depiction of parkour as a discipline thrown into an awesome story that a lot of people will relate to. LEAP kicked arse!
— Mike Snow, Melbourne stuntman and traceur, see clip below
This novel is my kind of story; what matters is not described or explained to us, and so we trust and find tender resolve. Myfanwy’s uncomplicated prose conveys journeys that are everything but uncomplicated. Engaging and luminous storytelling.
— Rosalie Ham, author of The Dressmaker
Myfanwy Jones’s writing pulses, pushed along with an irrepressible dynamism that echoes its protagonists... Jones captures with a real clarity the swirling mix of rage, hope and world-weariness of the millennial male... LEAP is a pleasure to read and a compelling piece of Australian contemporary fiction.
— Alan Vaarwerk, Readings Monthly
The rollicking ride through Melbourne’s streets is alive with food, drink, sport, trams and music, and the action leaps from figure to figure... I recommend you get your paws on a copy.
Otago Daily Times
LEAP is the kind of book that enriches the reader with its compassionate yet clear-eyed portrait of longing and loss... Highly recommended.
ANZ LitLovers
I cried upon finishing it, something I almost never do in response to a book. Then, like all the cleverest books, I went straight back to the start to ferret out all the clues and signs I’d missed on my first pass.
— S. A. Jones, Kill Your Darlings
This is a simple story told with a deft tenderness. The surprise is when the reader is suddenly airborne, weightless with possibility and free to imagine.
The South Coast Register

Melbourne traceur Mike Snow