After Paul’s breakup with Nick’s mother, the two start out together on Toronto’s Shaw Street, honing their idea of home. But circumstances take them across the Prairies, down to Montana and then to the outskirts of Detroit. Their experiences point backward, to Paul’s own father, a jazz loving Manhattanite who abandoned his family, and then further back to a grandfather, a comic figure in a long lost Polish town. In The Joyful Child adult lives are guided by children, by children’s stories, by the experience of travel and abandonment, and by a love of old cars and music. It’s a novel that sings sweet, sometimes sad songs; a children’s story for adults.