The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
Fans of The Little Paris Bookshop will delight in this tender novel about love and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, in which a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a passionate librarian--a Holocaust survivor determined to leave Europe behind as she opens the first bookshop his town has ever seen. It is 1968 in rural Australia and young Tom Hope is doing his best. In love with the land, but not much of a farmer, it's when his wife becomes pregnant--though by another man--that Tom finds true fulfilment in the role of a father. When inevitably his wife leaves, taking little Peter with her, Tom is heartbroken. Enter Hannah Babel, quixotic smalltown bookseller: the second Jewish person--and the most vivid woman--Tom has ever met. Hannah has opened the town's first bookshop, filling its shelves with all the darkness and light of post-war Europe. Tom dares to believe they could make each other happy, but Hannah is a haunted woman. Twenty-four years ago she and her own little boy had arrived at Auschwitz. About learning to make peace with evils both great and small, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is gorgeously written, gentle-spirited, and wise, sharing a hopeful story of unexpected love and second chances.
`While it may not be a novel's main purpose, certainly one of its pleasures can lie in how it witnesses the history of the form itself...Robert Hillman's Joyful is most immediately a nineteenth-century novel, a detailed work that portrays an entire, sealed world of complex and ultimately connected storylines.' * Australian Book Review, on Joyful * `Counting against all [the] business is Hillman's gift for compelling characters, the elegance of his prose and his genius with inventive, surprising dialogue.' * The Saturday Paper, on Joyful * `Hillman's prose is a pleasure to read, elegantly alert to the paradox of strong feeling [and] full of poetry.' * Australian, on Joyful *
Robert Hillman has written a number of books including his 2004 memoir The Boy in the Green Suit, which won the National Biography Award, and Joyful, published by Text in 2014. He lives in Melbourne.