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Long ago, when the men were away at the war, Alma began painting the women of the town. They sat for him in lieu of payment for his work catching rats. Alice, his favourite, returned his attentions, and when her husband, George, came home from the war, he set out to prove his love and reclaim his wife by moving a hill—wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow—for her.
Now, decades later, Alma’s ‘in lieu of’ payment is revived, and the townspeople, looking to escape various corners of despair, turn to drawing classes. For when you draw, the only thing that matters is what lies before you.
Paint Your Wife is a colourful, sensual novel, brimming with rich stories and even richer characters.
‘A gentle, whimsical book…Jones’s writing is easy and sophisticated, reminding me of Steinbeck at his humorous best…the whole fanciful sprawl is a delight.’
‘A delightful read, moving and uplifting, and loaded with gorgeous prose…this new edition by Text Publishing has wonderfully evocative cover art by W. H. Chong. Highly recommended.’
‘[This] playful, perceptive novel originally came out a decade ago. Its reappearance now completes Text’s publication of his back list—and what an accolade that is…Rooted in domestic detail, yet always liable to soar into the fabulous, the narrative winds through all sorts of transformations towards reverie, reconciliation, and an epiphany of “just as you are, please”…Lloyd Jones has written recently that plot now matters less to him in his writing; that the exploration of language itself is becoming more of a preoccupation. The pleasures of this swooping, sensuous narrative make you hope there’ll be room for both strengths in his future fiction.’
‘He’s [Jones] an impressive writer who deserves accolades aplenty for his carefully observed literary landscapes.’
‘This gentle book about a small community is by an accomplished wordsmith who makes it seem deceptively easy to write such flowing prose.’
‘Jones’ deep affection for his characters and the light, anecdotal touch with which he nudges them away from despair makes for a warm and original entertainment.’
‘The writing reminded me a lot of Anne Tyler – it will be enjoyed by fans of domestic, community drama, but made all the more fascinating and unique because its observations are from within the male perspective.’