The Breezes

Joseph O’Neill

Fourteen years ago Mary Breeze was killed by lightning – it should have been all the bad luck that the Breeze family were due but, as John Breeze is about to find out, this couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘The Breezes’ is John Breeze’s account of his family’s most hellish fortnight – when insurance policies, security systems and lucky underpants are pitted against redundancy, burglary and relegation – and lose. John (a failing chair-maker) and his father (railway manager and rubbish football referee) are only feebly equipped with shaky religious notions, management maxims and cynical postures as they try to come to terms with the absurd unfairness of lightning striking twice… From the conflict between blind optimism and cynicism, to the urge to pretend that things just aren’t happening, ‘The Breezes’ is wonderfully clever and comic novel about desperately trying to cope with the worst of bad luck.

Reviews of The Breezes

  • ‘What is the correct response to random tragedy? This dilemma is at the heart of Joseph O’Neill’s fine second novel … O’Neill’s considerable achievement is to render all these disasters at once deeply affecting and extremely funny … This is a novel about losers forced to become winners, and it works’ Guardian

    ‘Using wonderfully extravagant prose, both lyrical and earthy, O’Neill pulls off that rare thing – poignant farce’ Observer

    ‘Impressively, O’Neill handles tragedy and farce with equal aplomb … the book ends with an optimism as irresistible as it is hard won’ Independent on Sunday

    ‘A hilarious chronicle of life’s crappiness … O’Neill captures our peculiar mannerisms and shifting moods with style and precision, and his depictions of the moments when hilarity drifts into hysteria are always brilliant’ TLS