This Is the Life
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In this witty first novel, the ordinary confronts the romantic with darkly hilarious results. Solicitor James Jones wryly recounts a year spent unraveling the mysteries of his glamorous international lawyer-client's complicated private life and realizes that there are no faily-tale existences--only lives to be lived, and that, for himself, this is the life.
be that I, or something about me – my voice, my manner, the way I looked – rang no bells? ‘Fine,’ I said, ‘fine.’ There followed an unhappy, a miserable, hesitation. We both looked about the room, brimming with chortling lawyers, to avoid one another’s eyes. The other members of the group exchanged glances. I felt ridiculous. Although, as a rule, I am more than content with who and what I am, the incident was nevertheless an unhappy reminder of my unimportance in the legal world. The moral was
I arrived at the restaurant, a place called Garfunkel’s, in good time. I had suggested the place. It was not a romantic venue: synthetic tabletops, harsh lights and a floor overcrowded with an unappealing clientele (students, parents with troublesome children, downmarket types generally). The food (steak and chips, scampi, beefburgers etcetera – ‘honest’ food, I think it is called) was on the fast side, which meant that the meal would not be lengthy. I took a seat at a table and ordered a bottle
set up, I said. ‘What?’ Then Fergus Donovan caught up with what I had said. Last night, he explained tiredly, he had, for once, got through to his son, and he had asked him to play with us. He couldn’t see anything wrong with that. As for all this stuff about prejudice, he did not know what I was talking about. I was about to argue my point of view when I saw that Fergus Donovan was distressed about something. He was shaking his head and muttering something to himself. Now I felt ashamed about
more profound way, it did not make sense. That was what bothered me in the taxi back to the office. The arithmetic of events was unconvincing. In the equation you had Donovan’s determination to fight the divorce, plus his conviction that Arabella would not be able to prove her contentions, plus his father’s deep anxiety to save the marriage, plus Donovan’s great skill as a litigator, plus the relative weakness of Arabella’s case; even given certain minuses (the distress of the trial, the
learned editors of that journal would ever consider an article by a nobody like me. To think that I imagined that I could ever grasp, let alone master, the problems of supranational law – and in two weeks. (And yet, when I fingered the letter, I was pounding …) I ripped open the envelope. Dear Mr Jones, Thank you for your paper on the problems of developing a supranational law. I read it with great interest. Unfortunately, the International Lawyer already has a piece on this very subject,