James Jones is slipping steadily through life. He has a steady job as a junior partner at a solicitor’s firm, a steady girlfriend and a steady mortgage. Nothing much is happening in Jones’s life but he really doesn’t mind – this is exactly the way he likes it. Michael Donovan, meanwhile, is a star – a world-class international lawyer and advocate – he’s everything Jones wanted to be and isn’t. Jones was once Donovan’s pupil and, for a while, it looked like he too would make his name – but he left that high-powered world behind a long time ago, or so he thought. One day Jones reads in the paper that Donovan has collapsed in court – then, out of the blue, Donovan contacts him; he has a job he needs Jones to work on… Joseph O’Neill’s debut is wonderfully clever and comic novel – about ambitions and aspirations and the realities that they inevitably collide with.
Reviews of This is the Life
- ‘Immensely well-written, original, inventive and most readable’ Guardian
- ‘An excellent debut, crisply written and full of dark observations of the fragility of worldly success’ Daily Telegraph
- ‘Fresh and funny’ Independent on Sunday
- ‘Something of a coup…O’Neill knows his subject and comments incisively on the legal fetishism of language and intellect with a light touch’ TLS
- ‘An engaging first novel’ GQ
- ‘An assured, inventive performance’ Irish Times