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