Jack Spalding is a man at his lowest ebb. His wife has imposed a trial separation. His legal career is faltering. Though once he was a prince, his future is bleak. But then, in service of a client he did not want, Jack finds a book of love poems he did not expect. Through Hugh McCauley’s poetry, Jack perceives the love the poet has for his soulmate, Jing Zhao. But what has happened to the young couple? Narrated, in turn, by the three central characters, The Glorious Face of Sorrow, tells the tale of Hugh and Jing’s mixed-race romance in 1990s Sydney, where racial tensions are on the rise in an era of dog-whistle politics. But it also tells the story of Jack’s search for unlikely redemption.