Englischsprachige Literatur

OīFarrell John

This is your life

Black Swan/Transworld, London, 2003


This novel is worlds better than “The best a man can get”. Itīs a bitter satire about our media-obsessed culture. In first person narrative 35-year-old Jimmy Conway, a part time teacher at the Sussex Language Centre in Seaford, tells the reader that his life is a complete failure. When he was 15 he wrote letters to his future self, supposing Jimmy then would be a real celebrity. But the only one who thinks he is a star, is his faithful border collie Betty.
One day Jimmy is jogging along the coast and meets Billy Scrivens, the famous stand-up comedian. The next thing Jimmy hears is that Scrivens died of a heart attack while jogging. Jimmy is interviewed by a TV-crew and canīt resist twisting the truth a bit, so that he now is known as  one of Billīs friends. He is so intoxicated with his sudden fame that he invents a stand-up comedian career for himself to keep the media interested. Of course, itīs a complete sham and he gets in terribly and painfully embarassing situations. Sometimes the reader, who quite naturally sympathises with the hero, just canīt go on reading, because itīs all so awful, even if there is a happy ending, when Jimmy finally accepts his real life.
OīFarrell wants to reveal how shallow and heartless the media circus really is, and finds a gripping way to do just that. 
“Did not more believers worship at the altar of television on Saturday night than ever entered a church the following morning? In every home in every street we gathered around the godbox to hear the gospel according to St Oprah, for yeah, daytime television is the truth, the light and the way...” (p. 92)