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With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodw With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.


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With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodw With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.

59 review for Bright Lights, Big City

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    So it remains to say, which one's better? This, or Bret Easton Ellis's smash mid-80s literary debut, "Less Than Zero"? These two novels are comparable because they crystallized the 1980's and with style to spare. They both have that quality that makes a reader almost fanatically impatient for their next written work. My opinion is that THIS ONE gets top prize. (Although Ellis's "Rules of Attraction" is better than both of these). The protagonist gets some help from the ever-elusive second person So it remains to say, which one's better? This, or Bret Easton Ellis's smash mid-80s literary debut, "Less Than Zero"? These two novels are comparable because they crystallized the 1980's and with style to spare. They both have that quality that makes a reader almost fanatically impatient for their next written work. My opinion is that THIS ONE gets top prize. (Although Ellis's "Rules of Attraction" is better than both of these). The protagonist gets some help from the ever-elusive second person narrator treatment... a fantastic writing feat! For you are the guy, YOU, & are trapped in your own particular time & space (obviously conveying the very way he feels trapped, just like the reader becomes trapped inside the narrative). This quality makes it especially endearing. It's important, & a true page turner on top of it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orsodimondo

    IL GIORNO COME SEMPRE SARÀ Bright Lights, Big City – Le mille luci di New York. Tu non sei esattamente il tipo di persona che ci si aspetterebbe di vedere in un posto come questo a quest’ora del mattino. Questo è l’incipit, comincia proprio così. E perché lui e il posto e l’ora del giorno non si accordano? Perché a quell’ora, le 4 del mattino, lui dovrebbe essere a casa a dormire, la mattina dopo deve andare al lavoro. Sarà uno straccio per aver passato la notte in piedi. Averla passata sniffando coc IL GIORNO COME SEMPRE SARÀ Bright Lights, Big City – Le mille luci di New York. Tu non sei esattamente il tipo di persona che ci si aspetterebbe di vedere in un posto come questo a quest’ora del mattino. Questo è l’incipit, comincia proprio così. E perché lui e il posto e l’ora del giorno non si accordano? Perché a quell’ora, le 4 del mattino, lui dovrebbe essere a casa a dormire, la mattina dopo deve andare al lavoro. Sarà uno straccio per aver passato la notte in piedi. Averla passata sniffando coca boliviana. Al punto da non sapere dove si trova. Infatti, il “posto” a lui è poco chiaro: sa per certo che è un locale notturno, chiamiamolo nightclub, ma potrebbe essere l’Heartbreak, oppure il Lizard Lounge. La coca boliviana e l’alcol, ingeriti in quantità allegre, gli annebbiano il cervello, e quindi, non è ben sicuro di sapere dove si trova. Sa però che è appoggiato a un pilastro, che potrebbe non essere portante ma di sicuro per lui è importante perché se non ci fosse appoggiato sarebbe sul pavimento - e sta parlando con una ragazza che ha la testa rasata a zero e che forse gli ha detto come si chiama ma certo lui non se lo ricorda. Michael J. Fox, inadatto al ruolo, miscasted, viene battezzato Jamie. Chi è lui? È quello che in Italia chiameremmo un giovane aspirante scrittore. Invece, in US lo chiamerebbero solo aspirante scrittore, senza giovane, perché avendo superato i 25 anni, non ha più diritto a questo appellativo. Non sappiamo come si chiama, il suo nome non compare mai, è l’unico che rimane ignoto, è un protagonista così depresso da non avere neanche un nome. Lavora in un importante rivista (con chiaro riferimento al New Yorker) al reparto fact checking (verifica dei fatti), uno di quei lavori che in Italia non esistono, e non si pensa neppure di avviarli, uno di quei lavori fondamentali ma per nulla scintillanti. E sì, gli piace scrivere, e ancor più gli piacerebbe pubblicare, magari una raccolta di racconti, cominciando da uno qui e uno là su qualche rivista, come di solito si inizia la carriera di scrittore da quelle parti. Siamo all’inizio degli anni Ottanta (il romanzo è uscito nel 1984) e questo è importante: perché queste pagine rappresentano la quintessenza di quel periodo, ne sono figlie, e al contempo, lo illuminano, lo spiegano, lo raccontano. E siamo anche negli anni dell’edonismo reaganiano, degli yuppie, dell’economia che andava a gonfie vele, e tutto sembrava in crescita, quando finalmente l’uomo bianco occidentale, forse per la prima volta, si trovava tra le mani una vita che sembrava senza aspetti negativi, anche in quel momento, dietro la copertina luccicante, scostando il velo… Kiefer Sutherland è l’amico Tad che procura la cocaina al protagonista. Come mai questo protagonista è così depresso da non avere neanche un nome? Perché la sua bellissima moglie l’ha appena lasciato. Lei è una modella, è andata a Parigi per sfilare, lo ha chiamato da lì per dirgli “non torno, rimango qui, tra noi è finita, grazie di tutto, bye bye”. Prima di partire per Parigi, Amanda, ha prestato il suo viso come calco per un manichino: è stata un’ora e mezza col viso coperto da una maschera di lattice respirando attraverso due cannucce infilate nelle narici. E adesso che è stato liquidato con una semplice breve telefonata, lui la vede in giro per la città, dietro le vetrine di Bloomingdale, nei manichini esposti. E così, il nostro protagonista fatica a metabolizzare questo abbandono, non riesce a tenere la testa su quello che fa, si lascia andare, sniffa, beve, tira tardi, combina casini sul lavoro, che infatti finirà col perdere, sarà licenziato. Come se non bastasse c’è che sua madre è morta da un anno di cancro, e le cose fra loro hanno cominciato ad andare meglio solo poco prima che lei morisse. Il film è del 1988, diretto da James Bridges, che ne ha fatti di migliori. Ma perché questo protagonista così depresso da non avere neanche un nome si esprime con la seconda persona, si rivolge a se stesso? Beh, un motivo direi che è nella novità della cosa: narrare attraverso il ‘tu’ nel 1984 era pratica meno nota di ora – qualcuno direbbe che forse era la prima volta che si faceva, ma ho dubbi in proposito. In ogni caso, era un approccio letterario insolito. Spiazzante. Nel caso di questo bel romanzo è perfettamente giustificato secondo me, non certo solo un mero esercizio stilistico: perché questo protagonista così depresso da non avere neanche un nome per la maggior parte della storia è come se fosse doppio, si guarda da fuori, non approva quello che fa, e solo nel finale, nel bel capitolo che chiude il libro, si riappacifica con se stesso in quello che si può definire una possibilità di happy ending. Perché se fino all’ultimo capitolo il viaggio è sembrato senza speranza, marchiato dal fallimento, adesso si comincia ad avvertire l’inizio, o almeno il desiderio di una ribellione, si comincia a intuire una luce in fondo al tunnel. Magari solo questa: il profumo del pane ti avvolge come una pioggerella leggera. Inali profondamente, ti riempi i polmoni. Ti vengono le lacrime agli occhi, e provi una tale sensazione di tenerezza e pietà che sei costretto ad attaccarti a un lampione… Il primo boccone ti si ferma in gola e ti fa quasi vomitare. Dovrai cercare di andar piano. Dovrai imparare tutto daccapo. Dianne Wiest è la madre. Il ‘tu’ è un martello che colpisce rigo dopo rigo (o meglio, visto che la coca è così centrale in questa storia, meglio usare il femminile riga), pagina dopo pagina: incalza, spinge, scandisce secco e bruciante. La prima luce del mattino disegna contro il cielo i grattacieli del World Trade Center sulla punta dell’isola. Da noi Bright Lights, Big City è arrivato nel 1986 pubblicato da Bompiani. Prima di Meno di zero e Ballo di famiglia. E qui da noi si cominciò a parlare di minimalismo come mai prima. Al punto da recuperare Carver, che da maestro di alcuni di questi scrittori, in Italia editorialmente parlando diventò quasi un loro discepolo. Ci fu anche Tama Janowitz, da noi notata meno, e per un attimo anche Susan Minot. In USA li definivano il literary brat pack, la banda di monelli (una forma di parodia del rat pack di Sinatra, Dean Martin&Co.), per differenziarli dalla banda di monelli del cinema (Sean Penn, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore eccetera). Qui da noi a me pare che solo Tondelli sapesse intercettare il tempo e l’epoca con questo acutezza, profondità e qualità. Senza essere datato: sia i libri di Pier che questo esordio di Jay hanno conservato il loro valore letterario evitando di restare inchiodati al loro periodo storico (di costume). PS Del film non vale la pena parlare, mediocre sotto qualsiasi punto di vista. Richard Estes: Booths. 1967

  3. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    “Your brain at this moment is composed of brigades of tiny Bolivian soldiers. They are tired and muddy from their long march through the night. There are holes in their boots and they are hungry. They need to be fed. The need the Bolivian Marching Powder.” Quote from the opening scene of this 1984 Jay McInerney novel told in cool, hip, drug-hyped second person. But, alas, this is merely the surface. Each time I read this book, I comprehend more clearly how the words on every page have sharp razo “Your brain at this moment is composed of brigades of tiny Bolivian soldiers. They are tired and muddy from their long march through the night. There are holes in their boots and they are hungry. They need to be fed. The need the Bolivian Marching Powder.” Quote from the opening scene of this 1984 Jay McInerney novel told in cool, hip, drug-hyped second person. But, alas, this is merely the surface. Each time I read this book, I comprehend more clearly how the words on every page have sharp razor-like edges that cut into the heart of the narrator. However, to say specifically why this is so would be to say too much since the more complete story of what the narrator is going through is not disclosed until the closing chapters. Below are my comments coupled with one-line snappers from the novel’s main character, a 24-year old coke-snorting would-be writer working as a fact-checker for a New Yorker-like magazine and living in a downtown apartment by himself after Amanda, his fashion model wife, called telling him she isn’t coming back and he will be hearing from her lawyer to settle the divorce: “The girl with the shaved head has a scar tattooed on her scalp. It looks like a long, sutured gash. You tell her it is very realistic. She takes this as a compliment and thanks you. You meant as opposed to romantic. “I could use one of those right over my heart,” you say.” ---------- The narrator’s words foreshadow how he really isn’t after the thrills of the hip scene but something emotionally deeper and much more personal. I can appreciate how many dislike the novel and the whining, distressed voice of the narrator since, in many respects, his emotional turmoil is similar to that other sensitive, distraught, whining 16-year old back in the late 1940s – Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger’s classic. “It’s 10:58. You’ve worn out the line about the subway breaking down. Maybe tell Clara you stopped to take a free look at Kinky Karla and got bitten by her snake.” --------- Clara is the narrator’s boss at the fact finding department; Kinky Karla and her snake one of the thrills the old street hawkers hawk out on the street. Both of these worlds – the clock-driven, drab, humdrum office and the blaring girls-girls--girls sleaze – are exactly what the narrator in his current anguished state does not need. “There was a cartoon you used to watch with a time-traveling turtle and a benevolent wizard. The turtle would journey back to say, the French revolution, inevitably getting in way over his head. At the last minute, when he was stretched out under the guillotine, he would cry out, “Help, Mr. Wizard!” And the wizard, on the other end of the time warp, would wave his wand and rescue the hapless turtle.” ---------- Ha! A common wish, particularly among young adults, to be saved from the need to do a 9-5 pressure-cooker job. All of my education for this? Mr. Wizard, please get me the hell out of here! Sorry, life isn’t a cartoon – you will have to find your own way out. “You insert another piece of paper, again you type the date. At the left margin you type, “Dear Amanda,” but when you look at the paper it reads, “Dead Amanda.” Screw this. You are not going to commit any great literature tonight.” ---------- So telling. Writing fiction nearly always requires an emotional distance; when one is undergoing extreme personal upset, such as our novel’s narrator, it is next to impossible to move past drafting the first paragraph. “Wade saunters in and stops in front of your desk. He looks at you and clicks his tongue. “What kind of flowers do you want on your grave? I already have the epitaph: He didn’t face facts.” -------- This exchange after the narrator, by his own admission, completely screwed up in performing his job. His refusal to face and deal with his life beyond the office gives an ironic twist to 'He didn’t face facts'. “When you first came to the city you spent a night here with Amanda. You have friends to stay with but you wanted to spend that first night at the Plaza. . . . Your tenth-floor room was tiny and overlooked an airshaft; though you could not see the city out the window, you believed that it was spread out at your feet. The limousines around the entrances seemed like carriages, and you felt that someday one would wait for you. Today they put you in mind of carrion birds, and you cannot believe your dreams were so shallow. ---------- Such is the truth of the city: if you have money and are on the rise, the Big Apple is a dream come true; if you are penniless and on the skids, it quickly turns into a cold, cruel deathtrap. This was Jay McInerney’s first novel. He went on to write a half a dozen more, but none having nearly the hype and fame as this one. Curiously, from what I gather, Jay has spent much of the last thirty years attempting to separate his personal identity from the identity of this novel’s narrator. Such is the power of literature.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Eckstein

    You've been meaning to read BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY for years, ever since hearing that it's written in the second person. You were intrigued, understandably. Point of view in fiction has always been an area of interest, and you might be described as a sucker for narrative gimmicks. While preparing for a trip to Manhattan, you entertained romantic fantasies of reading a novel set in New York during your stay. You forgot, as you always do, that you never manage to read while traveling, and that at You've been meaning to read BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY for years, ever since hearing that it's written in the second person. You were intrigued, understandably. Point of view in fiction has always been an area of interest, and you might be described as a sucker for narrative gimmicks. While preparing for a trip to Manhattan, you entertained romantic fantasies of reading a novel set in New York during your stay. You forgot, as you always do, that you never manage to read while traveling, and that at best, you might get through a few chapters on the plane before falling asleep. You brought an optimistic two novels and didn't even open them, so it wasn't until after your return that you finally started BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY. The second-person narration was strange at first. You kept stopping to stare at that word and analyze how it made you feel to be cast in the role of a coke-fueled, miserable young guy in early '80s New York. But these days you always focus too much on the words at the beginning of a book. When the writing is good -- and in this case it is -- you get pulled into the story soon enough. Still, even as you were enjoying the breakneck ride through nightclub debauchery and the contrasting sobriety of a respected magazine's Department of Factual Verification, you did keep thinking about the effect. Were you drawn closer to the narrator and his muddled thoughts because the novel said that he was you? Or were you kept at a greater distance by a character in denial who refused to call himself "I"? You feel it's both at once somehow, and that it works for the story, and that you're glad you aren't a real book reviewer so you don't have to think about it harder than that. You could never be a real book reviewer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    This book is one I believe everyone should read. The subject matter is poignant, still relevant and (given the subject matter) extremely clean. Along with many, this book seems to me a prequel to Bret Easton Ellis‘s take on hip New York. While finishing it, I considered starting it over from the beginning immediately but have decided to reread American Psycho first. Bright Lights, Big City is a fast read and I think it is worth your time. This book is one I believe everyone should read. The subject matter is poignant, still relevant and (given the subject matter) extremely clean. Along with many, this book seems to me a prequel to Bret Easton Ellis‘s take on hip New York. While finishing it, I considered starting it over from the beginning immediately but have decided to reread American Psycho first. Bright Lights, Big City is a fast read and I think it is worth your time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    perhaps the best things i can say about this one are that it perfectly captured a perfectly nauseating time period in the mid-80s and it certainly reinvigorated the use of second-person narrative with surprising elan; perhaps the worst thing i could say about this one is that It Drove Me Up The Wall With Its Pathetically Entitled Non-Entity Of A So-Called Protagonist And It Somehow Made It Okay To Be A Pretentious Whiny Twit And Nihilistic Fuck. well ok then. man i guess it's all about you mark, perhaps the best things i can say about this one are that it perfectly captured a perfectly nauseating time period in the mid-80s and it certainly reinvigorated the use of second-person narrative with surprising elan; perhaps the worst thing i could say about this one is that It Drove Me Up The Wall With Its Pathetically Entitled Non-Entity Of A So-Called Protagonist And It Somehow Made It Okay To Be A Pretentious Whiny Twit And Nihilistic Fuck. well ok then. man i guess it's all about you mark, you're so Bright Lights, Big City.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thanks to Bookface, you no longer get this book mixed up with American Psycho, and can now easily tell the difference between Bret Easton Ellis and Jay MacInerney. Good thing you cleared that right up before you embarrassed yourself at one of those writerly New York parties you're always getting invited to. It would've been awful to have spilled your drink on the wrong author, for the wrong reason.... whew! This book is about how terrible people's lives were before the Internet was invented. It is Thanks to Bookface, you no longer get this book mixed up with American Psycho, and can now easily tell the difference between Bret Easton Ellis and Jay MacInerney. Good thing you cleared that right up before you embarrassed yourself at one of those writerly New York parties you're always getting invited to. It would've been awful to have spilled your drink on the wrong author, for the wrong reason.... whew! This book is about how terrible people's lives were before the Internet was invented. It is exactly what you expect it to be, only slightly more palatable. It's actually a fairly good substance abuse yarn (not normally your favorite genre), and it's a passable coming-to-ny/period-piece novel. It's not great or anything, but if you might as well pick up a fifty-cent copy at a garage sale to pull out on a slow day.... or you might as well not. You always give a certain grudging respect to a book that has you rooting for a character you'd normally hate in real life, and since you appreciate that sort of thing, you could do worse than this book. Then again, you could also do better.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John

    You decide to read this book because it was written in the second person. This is interesting to you. You've never read a book written in that manner, at least you can't remember if you have. This seems like a pretentious idea to you, but you are curious. You like the book more than you expected to. It isn't all that dated. Sure, lots of NYC landmarks have changed, but the gist is still the same. You identify with the main character. You decide that if you lived in NYC in 1984, this would probab You decide to read this book because it was written in the second person. This is interesting to you. You've never read a book written in that manner, at least you can't remember if you have. This seems like a pretentious idea to you, but you are curious. You like the book more than you expected to. It isn't all that dated. Sure, lots of NYC landmarks have changed, but the gist is still the same. You identify with the main character. You decide that if you lived in NYC in 1984, this would probably have been your life. You ignore the fact that dance clubs and cocaine still exist, and you could actually choose this life if you wanted but you actively avoid it. McInerney, you realize, actually wrote that book that every 20 or 30 something guy with a liberal arts degree who spends their time wandering the city imagines they are constantly on the verge of writing. And it turned out pretty good. You are a little jealous. Except for the dialogue. Once again, it glares. You wonder if this is the most common problem with writing. Bad dialogue. People saying too much. Too much information in what would be a briefer conversation. Fictional people always seem to have too many words to say. That's why Cormac McCarthy did such a good job in his book. He doesn't make people say too much. You consider writing a review in the second person. You decide this would be REALLY pretentious. That makes you happy, for some reason. You don't have anything better to do. You check the other reviews of the book. You realize that lots of other people have done the same exact thing. You decide you don't want to be a bandwagon reviewer. You are wittier than that. Then you realize that you actually are lazy and unoriginal and that's why McInerney had already worked at the New Yorker and published this book by 29 and you haven't written or published a damn thing and you're almost 31. You decide to leave the review as written.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I was almost tempted to give this five stars--an honor I've bestowed upon just two books all year. This book surprised me. Here was a character who, yes, snorts cocaine and passes out in bathrooms--but he has a conscience. The second-person narrative is effortless. McInerney is a part of the "literary brat pack," so his work is lumped in along with Bret Easton Ellis's. I remember Less than Zero as a confusing jumble of drug-feuled ramblings about ex-girlfriends, overdoses, fast cars, and prostit I was almost tempted to give this five stars--an honor I've bestowed upon just two books all year. This book surprised me. Here was a character who, yes, snorts cocaine and passes out in bathrooms--but he has a conscience. The second-person narrative is effortless. McInerney is a part of the "literary brat pack," so his work is lumped in along with Bret Easton Ellis's. I remember Less than Zero as a confusing jumble of drug-feuled ramblings about ex-girlfriends, overdoses, fast cars, and prostitution. Bright Lights, Big City is grown-up in comparison with its themes of love, work, and family; the party culture is more of a backdrop than the main stage for the events that take place. The next time I read this I'll do it with a pen in hand--several lines struck me as poignant or funny. (I'll probably have to buy my own copy for this exercise.) Here's one such line, when he's trying to make sense of a break-up: "But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    The ONLY McInerney novel worth reading and a masterpiece of 80's literature, New York is the setting and it's awash with money, excess, fashion, music, clubbing and of course the most important ingredient of all...Bolivian Marching Powder!, or for those not familiar-Cocaine. A brilliant comic morality tale told in first person narrative that is sharp, witty and a whole lot of fun, easily read in a couple of sittings, think American Psycho without the psychotic violence and dark humour and your o The ONLY McInerney novel worth reading and a masterpiece of 80's literature, New York is the setting and it's awash with money, excess, fashion, music, clubbing and of course the most important ingredient of all...Bolivian Marching Powder!, or for those not familiar-Cocaine. A brilliant comic morality tale told in first person narrative that is sharp, witty and a whole lot of fun, easily read in a couple of sittings, think American Psycho without the psychotic violence and dark humour and your on the right path. Almost makes you wish for an 80's revival, bring on the big hair, shoulder pads and cheesy pop videos!.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maciek

    Published in 1984, Bright Lights, Big City is famous for being a novel narrated entirely in the second person; although it's neither the first or the only book to do that, somehow it became one of the better known examples of this technique. Apparently, the novel began its life as a short story Jay McInerney published in a literary magazine, and which he later expanded into a full novel. Aside from the neat narrative trick, there is not much that one can say about the contents of the novel itself Published in 1984, Bright Lights, Big City is famous for being a novel narrated entirely in the second person; although it's neither the first or the only book to do that, somehow it became one of the better known examples of this technique. Apparently, the novel began its life as a short story Jay McInerney published in a literary magazine, and which he later expanded into a full novel. Aside from the neat narrative trick, there is not much that one can say about the contents of the novel itself. The anonymous narrator, obviously based on McInerey himself, spends his days working at the department of Factual Verification for a magazine in New York, and his nights partying at the local clubs. One of the first things which strikes the contemporary reader is how amusingly dated the book is. For obvious reasons, no one uses a computer; the narrator and others do their job the old way, finding information in actual records and via telephone calls to various sources. Despite little evidence of the narrator doing much actual work requiring actual skill, he somehow manages to live in Manhattan, go to parties and get high on cocaine most of the time. There is little to say about the narrator - although unhappy, he remains resigned throughout most of the novel. Despite wanting to work at the fiction department, he never once tries producing any actual fiction; although he feels alienated and misses his former wife, there is little to suggest that he is actually willing or even capable of pursuing a real relationship with anyone. The few biographical snippets which aim to give us more insight into the narrator's character - a look at the early days of his marriage, a visit by his brother - ultimately turn out to not be enough to arouse any interest in someone who is thoroughly uninteresting, even if he is "you". It does not help that the background characters are entirely forgettable - including the narrator's wife, and his friend and mentor, Tad Allagash, about whom we learn little more than his name. Ultimately, there is little reason to care about anything that happens in the novel as the narrator does not care very much either, and in the end this was exactly my reaction: I did not care at all. This is not a terrible book, but it's a period piece through and through. There are a few good lines throughout the text (my favorite being "You are a republic of voices tonight. Unfortunately, that republic is Italy."), but Jay McInerney is no Bret Easton Ellis, and Bright Lights, Big City is not Less Than Zero and definitely not American Psycho, both of which feature similar themes but are much better books.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Bright Lights, big city really does capture the essence of New York City in the early 80’s. It’s got a great beat to it. Written in the second person our protagonist is still grieving his dead mother and his failed marriage and a fast crumbling career. To overcome his falling apart life he’s seduced by the bright lights of the party life, fast women and lots of drugs. The momentary escape provides lots of exciting times but as anything that is done in excess it all comes crashing down and he has Bright Lights, big city really does capture the essence of New York City in the early 80’s. It’s got a great beat to it. Written in the second person our protagonist is still grieving his dead mother and his failed marriage and a fast crumbling career. To overcome his falling apart life he’s seduced by the bright lights of the party life, fast women and lots of drugs. The momentary escape provides lots of exciting times but as anything that is done in excess it all comes crashing down and he has to face up to his failures even when he’s trying so hard to run away from them. This is a fast paced book that leaves you wanting more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ~Theresa Kennedy~

    Absolutely LOVED this little book and I only just read it for the first time in early 2018. What can I say? Its funny, its honest, its creative and amusing. I'd heard about this book for so many years and had never taken the time to read it. I really enjoyed how it was written in second person narrative voice and also the rumor that so much of it was based on Jay Mcinerny's life in New York. One of my favorite books, and a part of my permanent collection. Absolutely LOVED this little book and I only just read it for the first time in early 2018. What can I say? Its funny, its honest, its creative and amusing. I'd heard about this book for so many years and had never taken the time to read it. I really enjoyed how it was written in second person narrative voice and also the rumor that so much of it was based on Jay Mcinerny's life in New York. One of my favorite books, and a part of my permanent collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    Not sure what to think of this one. On the one hand, it's got a lot of very good prose (and funny, too, e.g. "You are a republic of voices tonight. Unfortunately, that republic is Italy."), and you pretty much have to identify with the main character...he is you, after all.* On the other hand, and maybe this is symptomatic of first novels, but McInerney seems to feel the need to heap on some unnecessary dramatic events either in a quest for Total Sympathy or as a justification for the protagonis Not sure what to think of this one. On the one hand, it's got a lot of very good prose (and funny, too, e.g. "You are a republic of voices tonight. Unfortunately, that republic is Italy."), and you pretty much have to identify with the main character...he is you, after all.* On the other hand, and maybe this is symptomatic of first novels, but McInerney seems to feel the need to heap on some unnecessary dramatic events either in a quest for Total Sympathy or as a justification for the protagonist's ennui. To which I say, does anyone need a justification for ennui? Plus, he crucially drops the ball on a couple of scenes near the end. More specifically, all the important scenes toward the end are very much hit or miss. His failed hookup with the angelic but still believable Megan was great, as was the scene at the very end with the bread. But the scene where he runs into the wife who abandoned him? Suddenly we have lines like "'How's it going?' You start to laugh. She laughs too. You slap your thigh. She wants to know how it's going. A very funny question. Hilarious. Amanda is a riot. You are laughing so hard that you choke . . . You are laughing. People are pounding your back. It's funny. People are funny. Everything's so funny you could die laughing." Is it a commentary on the insipidness of unrequited obsession? Maybe, but that doesn't make me like it. Despite all that, though, it's a fundamentally good book, or so I think. Everything from the first two thirds, plus a few strangely touching scenes near the end, makes it worth it. *Which seems like it should be just a cheap trick, but McInerney makes it seem like the only way the book could have been written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Qualche domenica fa, nell’inserto del Corriere della Sera sulla lettura c’era un’intervista a tale Gary Fisketjon, editor newyorkese scopritore di talenti come Cormac Mc Carthy ed anche di Jay Mc Inerney. Non avevo mai sentito parlare di questo scrittore, lo ammetto. Ma le parole entusiastiche dell’editor su questo scrittore enfant prodige, di cui pubblicò nel 1984 “Le mille luci di New York”, del quale dice che “occuperà sempre un posto speciale. Oltre ad essere impeccabile dal punto di vista l Qualche domenica fa, nell’inserto del Corriere della Sera sulla lettura c’era un’intervista a tale Gary Fisketjon, editor newyorkese scopritore di talenti come Cormac Mc Carthy ed anche di Jay Mc Inerney. Non avevo mai sentito parlare di questo scrittore, lo ammetto. Ma le parole entusiastiche dell’editor su questo scrittore enfant prodige, di cui pubblicò nel 1984 “Le mille luci di New York”, del quale dice che “occuperà sempre un posto speciale. Oltre ad essere impeccabile dal punto di vista letterario, il suo esordio rivoluzionò la scena letteraria in un momento in cui l’America aveva perso interesse per gli autori soprattutto nuovi…”, hanno destato il mio interesse e la voglia di leggerlo. Purtroppo sono arrivata tardi, la novità letteraria che all’epoca rappresentò un romanzo in cui si parlava di dipendenza dalla droga, di fallimenti matrimoniali e della sfavillante vita della metropoli americana che nasconde il vuoto di valori della vita moderna è oramai superata da tanti successivi libri e film a riguardo. La delusione è stata più forte anche per il fatto che questo romanzo può ritenersi un bell’involucro esteriormente, un pacco dono con i fiocchi e i ricci ben confezionato –come dice Fisketjon, è impeccabile dal punto di vista letterario-, ma dentro c’è poco o nulla, nel senso che rimane in superficie, in generale non approfondisce i personaggi che ricordano i manichini delle luccicanti vetrine newyorkesi, messi nelle posizioni più strampalate. Non saprei, ma credo che lo scrittore potrebbe riuscire benissimo come sceneggiatore di film, lo avrei visto bene nella sceneggiatura di Sex and the city, ecco.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    I've no idea why I'd never read Bright Lights, Big City (1984), despite it being renowned as something of a classic. Or indeed anything written by Jay McInerney. I loved it - from the first page to the last. It's a mere 192 pages and a quick and easy read. The story's narrator is a 24 year old would-be writer who works as a fact checker for a highbrow magazine. Most nights he is being led astray by his friend Tad Allagash: snorting cocaine, chasing the illusory nightlife dream, whilst also tryin I've no idea why I'd never read Bright Lights, Big City (1984), despite it being renowned as something of a classic. Or indeed anything written by Jay McInerney. I loved it - from the first page to the last. It's a mere 192 pages and a quick and easy read. The story's narrator is a 24 year old would-be writer who works as a fact checker for a highbrow magazine. Most nights he is being led astray by his friend Tad Allagash: snorting cocaine, chasing the illusory nightlife dream, whilst also trying to come to terms with his wife leaving him, and the death of his mother. Nothing much happens by way of drama and yet Bright Lights, Big City remains utterly compelling and a complete joy. The moment I finished I bought a copy of Ransom (1985), Jay McInerney's next book which I am already really looking forward to. 5/5

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Blumenthal

    Back in the day, this was considered a groundbreaking novel although I don't remember exactly why, other than the fact that it was written neither in the first nor the third person but in the second person. The character telling the story was referred to as "You." So it was "I" but McInerney called the "I" "You." Mixed up enough now? Anyway, it's about suffering through New York City nightlife in the mid-1980s and its publication made the author an instant literary sensation or, what the critics Back in the day, this was considered a groundbreaking novel although I don't remember exactly why, other than the fact that it was written neither in the first nor the third person but in the second person. The character telling the story was referred to as "You." So it was "I" but McInerney called the "I" "You." Mixed up enough now? Anyway, it's about suffering through New York City nightlife in the mid-1980s and its publication made the author an instant literary sensation or, what the critics like to call "the voice of his generation."(Who makes that decision anyway?) That said, I must admit, I liked it and envied McInerrney's ability to become the voice of his generaton by writing a novel that is only 182 pages long. (Take that, Tolstoy!) Nevertheless, there is something almost irresistible about this book; on the other hand, I read it in 1985 and it may not stand the test of time but I'm not planning to read it again to find out. It's good but it's not The Great Gatsby and by now, there have been many more "voices of their generations," although I'm not sure the Selfie Generation (that exists right?) will ever have one unless all novels are written in emojis on Instagram.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    A deeply personal book about grief that moved me to tears, holding up a broken mirror to my own life. I’ve loved the movie adaptation for years; I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get around to reading the original book. Idiot...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    I didn’t care as much as I wanted to. Read this book if you’re looking for a one-night thing, a quickie reading that’s mainly for pleasure and the heck of it. If you’re looking for something serious, move on or read the part of this review under Sensuality vs Intellectualism. This novel offers some sort of limelight in the city of New York back in the ‘80s. The joy ride is personified by a man rapidly losing hold of his life. If you’re into that whole drug, party, booze getup then hooray for you I didn’t care as much as I wanted to. Read this book if you’re looking for a one-night thing, a quickie reading that’s mainly for pleasure and the heck of it. If you’re looking for something serious, move on or read the part of this review under Sensuality vs Intellectualism. This novel offers some sort of limelight in the city of New York back in the ‘80s. The joy ride is personified by a man rapidly losing hold of his life. If you’re into that whole drug, party, booze getup then hooray for you. On the other hand, if you’re a pretty low-key dude like me then it’s a meh. Still, the guy is an aspiring writer stuck in a desk job, so I can empathize to a degree. Overall there are some solid parts, this one particularly: “But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name.” But then there are some lackluster scenes when it tried to be emotional but didn’t do enough, also the second-person point of view became a little disconcerting after some time. Still, it was quite fun. The book is at its best when it’s about the bright lights, enjoyment, and the city of New York. The ending left a little to be desired but it wasn’t too bad either. Let me then dwell on the predominant issue that this book injected into my thoughts. Sensuality vs. Intellectualism. There are few things in this world that truly interest people. Mainly, they have to do with the senses. Rarely are people excited by the prospect of philosophy or intellectual stimulation. They associate more with the aesthetic; hence art is never devoid of its audience. People are sexual, gluttonous, musical, even fragrance is highly sought after. These qualities define people; it gives them their fleeting share of happiness. It gives them pleasure. But pleasure is subjective to what pleases one, and pleasure in the humanistic sense is delved in the stimulation of the senses. It leads one to question humanity’s major adjective, intellectual or sensual? Based on the aforementioned, I would conclude the latter. For what is the purpose of intellectual endeavors? An education is but the prerequisite for work. Nobody goes to the university to pursue knowledge, people pursue degrees. Their goal is to pass their requirements and find decent work. And in work, people think, exercise their minds in order to receive monetary compensation. Compensation which will be used for food, shelter, clothing, electricity, travel. One can argue that these are necessary for one’s survival, that one uses the intellect to survive. But things that we say sustain one’s survival are delved into the senses more than is necessary. So then, is intellect nothing but a means to an end? If the purpose of intellect is to lead us to a pleasurable sensual life, then should intellectual growth be pursued? Do we need to enhance the means? Wouldn’t a direct pursuit of the end be more efficient? If one follows this line of thinking, then seeking a life of sensual pleasure is the obvious choice to follow. One does not need an education to do that. But then we tackle humanity’s great flaw: greed. If intellect is the means to the sensual, then the greater the intellect the greater the sensual pleasure accessible. People want greater pleasure, they strive for intellect growth. Alas, there’s a catch. There’s a ledge at the end, a deep cliff of no return where a dark chasm awaits. When one proceeds past a certain point in the intellectual sphere, one becomes aware of the said circumstances. With awareness comes the numbing of the senses, the sensual. A mist engulfing one and suppressing feeling appears. Suddenly, the sensual is nothing but a distraction. A fascination of all things metaphysical gives reality the quality of a dream. One starts asking questions, and with questions come, not answers, but more questions. An awakening to why, what, who, where and for that, the sensual has no answer. But the intellect tells one that it is futile, that the answer doesn’t matter. It’s asking the question that tells you you’re awake, that the sensual is but a dream of those asleep. If there is something that can tip the scales, that can show that humanity is more intellectual than sensual, it’s one thing. Curiosity. The need to know. Why?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shepherd

    You get used to reading a novel in second person pretty quickly, so it's not really that annoying. You enjoy how quickly the pages turn, how quickly the plot flows. It's a fun read, if not a deep one. You recognize the parallels with your own life, but don't feel the need to dwell on this. You end up liking the main character, even though you know he's an asshole. You're a bit resistant to some implied moralizing at the end, but you let it go. And you will make use of the metaphor of cocaine use You get used to reading a novel in second person pretty quickly, so it's not really that annoying. You enjoy how quickly the pages turn, how quickly the plot flows. It's a fun read, if not a deep one. You recognize the parallels with your own life, but don't feel the need to dwell on this. You end up liking the main character, even though you know he's an asshole. You're a bit resistant to some implied moralizing at the end, but you let it go. And you will make use of the metaphor of cocaine use as Bolivian Marching Powder in future conversations. That's about it. Forgettable, but worth your time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A book which fits on very few of my shelves. I think it is good to read out of my comfort zone, though this is not the first book of this kind (drug-addled entitled and oblivious individuals in their twenties running around a city) which I have read. Less Than Zero was better but a beast of a differnet nature as well, so I am being totally unfair in comparing the two. But I simply have to compare McInerney and Ellis. They fed off of eachother, with Ellis leaning towards horror and McInerney towa A book which fits on very few of my shelves. I think it is good to read out of my comfort zone, though this is not the first book of this kind (drug-addled entitled and oblivious individuals in their twenties running around a city) which I have read. Less Than Zero was better but a beast of a differnet nature as well, so I am being totally unfair in comparing the two. But I simply have to compare McInerney and Ellis. They fed off of eachother, with Ellis leaning towards horror and McInerney towards something which more readers will be able to relate to. McInerney's main character in this book is more human than any character I have so far read created by Ellis. I was able to relate to this book on nearly every level, excluding the drugs. I feel the cocaine usage was a little too high but who am I to say. Maybe this extravagance, if you will, was intentional. Did everyone in the 80's who lived in a city use cocaine? I doubt it. Most notably, Bright Lights, Big City is written in second person and this did contribute towards my being bale to relate to the character. The narrative style worked very well and I find myself drawn to more modern and post-modern fiction that employs it. The writing is witty and honest and anyone who has ever lost someone, whether through death or through a relationship while young, will be able to sympathize with the main character. The sympathy I felt and my rooting for the character made this a positive read. The book is about the curveballs life throws at you and those moments when you realize you can handle more than you first thought possible. Of course, McInerney seems to be saying that it is handled best with cocaine balzing through your blood stream but I can excuse this. The book began with a wonderful biting humor, which never again quite reached the funny zenith I wanted it to later in the book. It was contemplative and the main character destructive, in an accepted-by-the-city and his peers kind of way. I quite liked the ending, though I can imagine some readers wanting more. My favorite chapter was the second(?), involving the main character's job as a fact checker. Life without computers must have sucked.

  22. 5 out of 5

    F

    Enjoyed this much more than was expecting. Relatable

  23. 5 out of 5

    Wynne Kontos

    My dad loaned this book to me right before I went abroad to Paris this summer. He had attached a yellow Post-It saying he thought I might enjoy it since it takes place in both New York and Paris (sort of). I got no personal reading done in Paris, and this book, despite being only 230 something pages, has been on my shelf since this summer until I got to it this fall. There must have been a cosmic source making me wait to read it, since I believe books sometimes know when we need the stories insi My dad loaned this book to me right before I went abroad to Paris this summer. He had attached a yellow Post-It saying he thought I might enjoy it since it takes place in both New York and Paris (sort of). I got no personal reading done in Paris, and this book, despite being only 230 something pages, has been on my shelf since this summer until I got to it this fall. There must have been a cosmic source making me wait to read it, since I believe books sometimes know when we need the stories inside them. "Bright Lights Big City" couldn't have come at a better time for me. The novel is best known for it's use of second person narration, but this took little to no adaptation for me. The narrator is disillusioned by everything in his life, from his once kind-of-cool magazine job, to living in the "best city in the world," and his young model wife who has since left him for a modeling career in gay Paris. The story opens to him high on cocaine, talking to a woman with a shaved head in a club who he may or may not want to have sex with if by any chance she happens to be interested, which he quickly determines she is not and ends up stumbling home at dawn, the New York city streets his only backdrop. Once I got over my momentary shock that this was one of my father's favorite novels, I was able to see the true beauty of what I was reading. There's a reason this story has been at the tip of reader's tongues for over twenty years. Despite its age it remains relevant, touching, and laugh out loud funny. I was "that girl" laughing aloud on the SI Ferry on more than one occasion. Perhaps it was my ability to identify with being a young twenty something struggling for a professional and personal identity in New York City. The city has an odd way of giving you value, especially as a young person. Even more as a writer, someone who struggles for more but can't quite determine how to get it. The narrator is this person. Hence what I said about "good timing." Yet even I'll admit the same old young person searching for themselves story can get old and played out. And just when you think McInerney's bold writing style is the reason his run of the mill coming of age has remained in such strong focus, the story turns into something so much deeper, and much more touching by using family to reach through all the bull shit we experience when we think we've lost ourselves. One of my favorite books I've ever read, and I think it saved me at a time when I was beginning to wonder what I WAS going to do with myself after all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Silvia Sirea

    Frenesia e inadeguatezza sono le prime parole che mi vengono in mente se penso a questo romanzo. Ci si ritrova, fin da subito, catapultati nella vita della New York degli anni ottanta tra grattacieli, taxi, luci e discoteche. Il protagonista, un giovane uomo di nemmeno trent'anni che lavora per un'importante rivista ed è stato da poco lasciato dalla bellissima moglie, cede alle lusinghe della cocaina per evitare di pensare alla piega triste che ha preso la sua vita. La narrazione in seconda person Frenesia e inadeguatezza sono le prime parole che mi vengono in mente se penso a questo romanzo. Ci si ritrova, fin da subito, catapultati nella vita della New York degli anni ottanta tra grattacieli, taxi, luci e discoteche. Il protagonista, un giovane uomo di nemmeno trent'anni che lavora per un'importante rivista ed è stato da poco lasciato dalla bellissima moglie, cede alle lusinghe della cocaina per evitare di pensare alla piega triste che ha preso la sua vita. La narrazione in seconda persona sembra quasi un atto di accusa del protagonista contro se stesso, un puntare il dito verso la propria vita superficiale e svuotata di tutte le cose importanti. Nei pochi giorni in cui è ambientato il romanzo, si assiste ad una graduale ma imperterrita discesa del protagonista fino a quando un avvenimento legato ad un ricordo a lui molto caro lo condurrà ad una sorta di rinascita che combacia con l'alba di un nuovo giorno nella città che non dorme me mai. E' un romanzo che si può leggere in poche ore grazie alla sua brevità e al ritmo incalzante che lo contraddistingue. E, nonostante sia stato scritto trent'anni fa, contiene già tutta la disillusione che pervade il ventunesimo secolo.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    I finally read Bright Lights, Big City. I wanted to dislike it, to put it in the same category as American Psycho and move on. But I ended up liking the book. I liked it a lot, actually. My main impressions were: (1) This is not the best book I'll ever read, but it's better than 95 percent of the books I pick up. The plot is very undeveloped, but the story hangs together extremely well. A series of collages tells you what you need to know without connecting the dots for you. This is uncommon in I finally read Bright Lights, Big City. I wanted to dislike it, to put it in the same category as American Psycho and move on. But I ended up liking the book. I liked it a lot, actually. My main impressions were: (1) This is not the best book I'll ever read, but it's better than 95 percent of the books I pick up. The plot is very undeveloped, but the story hangs together extremely well. A series of collages tells you what you need to know without connecting the dots for you. This is uncommon in novels. (2) The second-person narrative is not a gimmick. The same book could not have been written in another voice. (3) The shape and feel of the prose distinguish this novel from others ostensibly like it (i.e., novels about hedonism in 1980s New York). After reading a sentence, my eyes would often retrace it and then connect it to the sentences before and after it. The flow was perfect. Sometimes I'd silently repeat a sentence or two, just to hear the sound again. (I also can't help but do this when I read Palahniuk, even though I don't particularly like his style and all I can hear is Edward Norton's voice from Fight Club reading aloud. Palahniuk's and McInerney's prose styles are so unique that paying special attention cannot be avoided.) I'd like to know how much editing McInerney has to do to give his prose the kind of polish it has. I will read more McInerney.

  26. 4 out of 5

    LATOYA JOVENA

    Love the use of second person. Love feeling like I'm hitting all the best parties in NYC. Love all the fun names for cocaine. I even love the twin towers depicted on the cover. Maybe a little short on plot and character but this is a fun novel not a sleep inducing, thought provoking, literary work. Love the use of second person. Love feeling like I'm hitting all the best parties in NYC. Love all the fun names for cocaine. I even love the twin towers depicted on the cover. Maybe a little short on plot and character but this is a fun novel not a sleep inducing, thought provoking, literary work.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maria Thomarey

    3,5

  28. 4 out of 5

    dv

    Libro che ha la capacità di trascinare in un vortice temporale diretto verso gli anni ’80: inizia come un mix fra Afterhours di Scorsese e alcune delle migliori pagine di Bret Easton Ellis, continua come Office Space di Mike Judge per poi trovare una sua via originale che va oltre e supera tutti questi riferimenti. E per forza: sono tutti successivi al 1984 di questo libro. In questo sta la grandezza di McInerney: nell’aver messo su carta, prima di tutti, un immaginario fatto di cocaina, modelle Libro che ha la capacità di trascinare in un vortice temporale diretto verso gli anni ’80: inizia come un mix fra Afterhours di Scorsese e alcune delle migliori pagine di Bret Easton Ellis, continua come Office Space di Mike Judge per poi trovare una sua via originale che va oltre e supera tutti questi riferimenti. E per forza: sono tutti successivi al 1984 di questo libro. In questo sta la grandezza di McInerney: nell’aver messo su carta, prima di tutti, un immaginario fatto di cocaina, modelle e vuoti interiori che ha influenzato e influenza tantissimo la percezione “narrativa” di quegli anni. Il libro procede per quadri staccati ben delineati dai capitoli e nel farlo ha i suoi alti e bassi, ma è dotato di coesione e coerenza rare, impreziosite dall’efficace uso della seconda persona. Peccato per la traduzione italiana non sempre calzante (col senno di poi, consiglierei di leggerlo in inglese). Nota a margine: tratto dal libro c’è un film del 1988 di James Bridges con Michael J. Fox - pare non sia granché ma penso comunque che lo cercherò. Ah: il titolo originale è Bright lights, big city, preso da quello dell’omonimo blues di Jimmy Reed. P.S. poi il film l'ho visto e non è così male, a parte alcune scelte di casting poco centrate.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I didn't expect to enjoy "Bright Lights, Big City", because the premise sounds so vile: cocaine-addled yuppie cracks up amid the glitzy world of 1980s Manhattan. But from the first pages, I realized something no one had ever told me about McInerney: he's a very funny writer. What's more, he makes the main character very sympathetic, so despite all the ridiculous, self-indulgent bullshit he pulls, you don't feel like he's a bad person, and you want him to be okay in the end. McInerney also does a I didn't expect to enjoy "Bright Lights, Big City", because the premise sounds so vile: cocaine-addled yuppie cracks up amid the glitzy world of 1980s Manhattan. But from the first pages, I realized something no one had ever told me about McInerney: he's a very funny writer. What's more, he makes the main character very sympathetic, so despite all the ridiculous, self-indulgent bullshit he pulls, you don't feel like he's a bad person, and you want him to be okay in the end. McInerney also does a good job of painting all the Manhattan scenes- the clubs and bars where his protagonist spends his nights, and the offices of The New Yorker, where he works during the day and slowly cracks up. If the novel fails a little towards the end, that's probably appropriate as it's a lot like a cocaine trip: the beginning is a lot of fun, and the middle is pretty good, but the end never works out the way you'd like. A useful comparison would be to Easton Ellis' "Less Than Zero" another Catcher in The Rye set in the 80s. That one is much more depressing, as it's set in LA and is almost completely devoid of humor. But it's useful to read them both for two looks at a similar subject: drug-enhanced ennui in a terminally materialistic society.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bibi

  31. 5 out of 5

    Aileen

  32. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  33. 4 out of 5

    Edd McCracken

  34. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  35. 4 out of 5

    John

  36. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  37. 5 out of 5

    Grant

  38. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  39. 4 out of 5

    Sharifa

  40. 4 out of 5

    Louise Brown

  41. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  42. 4 out of 5

    suzy

  43. 4 out of 5

    Neil Carty

  44. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

  45. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bolitzer

  46. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  47. 4 out of 5

    kim

  48. 4 out of 5

    Heidileesinclair

  49. 4 out of 5

    Ben Shoemaker

  50. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  51. 4 out of 5

    Susie

  52. 5 out of 5

    Dboucher7

  53. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  54. 4 out of 5

    Fatemeh

  55. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  56. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  57. 4 out of 5

    Wm

  58. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  59. 4 out of 5

    Silk

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