Synopses & Reviews
From the writer whose first novel, Bright Lights, Big City,
defined a generation and whose seventh and most recent, The Good Life,
was an acclaimed national best seller, a collection of stories new and old that trace the arc of his career over nearly three decades. In fact, the short story, as A. O. Scott wrote in The New York Times Book Review,
shows “McInerney in full command of his gifts . . . These stories, with their bold, clean characterizations, their emphatic ironies and their disciplined adherence to sound storytelling principles, reminded me of, well, Fitzgerald and also of Hemingway—of classic stories like ‘Babylon Revisited and ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. They are models of the form.”
Only seven of these stories have ever been collected in a book, but all twenty-six unveil and re-create the manic flux of our society. Whether set in New England, Los Angeles, New York or the South, they capture various stages of adulthood, from early to budding to entrenched to resentful: a young man confronting the class system at a summer resort; a young woman holed up in a remote cabin while her (married) boyfriend campaigns for the highest office of all; a couple whose experiments in sexuality cross every line imaginable; an actor visiting his wife in rehab; a doctor contending with both convicts and his own criminal past; a youthful socialite returning home to nurse her mother; an older one scheming for her next husband; a family celebrating the holidays while mired in loss year after year; even Russell and Corrine Calloway, whom we first met in McInerney's novel Brightness Falls.
A manifold exploration of delusion, experience and transformation, these stories display a preeminent writer of our time at the very top of his form.
"These 26 stories some new, some previously published go back as many years and take readers to a time when the stock market was bullish and a young writer made his name with an ingeniously packaged first novel that perfectly captured a brief moment in time. In this collection, we become reacquainted with the nameless night-crawling narrator of Bright Lights, Big City; with Alison Poole, the party girl of Story of My Life (and who McInerney has said was based on John Edwards's former mistress Rielle Hunter); and Collin McNab, a would-be screenwriter who enjoys a tortuous relationship with his model girlfriend. We also meet new characters, among them a novice screenwriter who learns to play the Hollywood game a little too well, a woman who contemplates sleeping with an old flame on the eve of his wedding, and, in the title story, a drug dealer whose good luck streak repulses the lawyer to whom he confides his tale. While nobody can channel urban strivers and their shallow pursuits as well as McInerney, after a while, the stories all tend to blur together with a depressing predictability." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
The author of seven novels and two collections of essays on wine, Jay McInerney is a regular contributor to New York, The New York Times Book Review, The Independent and Corriere della Sera. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy and Granta. In 2006, Time cited his 1984 debut, Bright Lights, Big City, as one of nine generation-defining novels of the twentieth century. He was the recipient of the 2006 James Beard Foundations M.F.K. Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing and his novel The Good Life received the Prix Littéraire at the Deauville Film Festival in 2007. He lives in Manhattan and Bridgehampton, New York.