Joy Stone

Joy Stone is the troubled central character of the novel. At only 27, she has had everything taken away from her:

  • her lover has drowned while on holiday
  • her mother has died after attempting suicide
  • her best friend Marianne has left to go overseas

She is severely depressed, suffers from an eating disorder, self-harms and has become reliant on alcohol.

‘Joy Stone’ is an oxymoron. ‘Joy’ is an emotion connoting happiness, liveliness and positive energy. ‘Stone’ suggests something heavy, immovable, and rigid. The name hints at the depression that has stopped the positive flow of her life in its tracks.

Joy's depression is presented as so powerful and all-consuming that the other characters are frequently only roughly-sketched caricatures. The roles the characters play is very much related to their gender.

Marianne, Ellen, Joy and Myra from The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Key female characters are:

  • Marianne
  • Ellen
  • Myra

Key male characters are:

  • Michael
  • Paul
  • David
  • Tony