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Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

Bright Lights, Big City (1984)

by Jay McInerney

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I haven't seen this movie in a long time and when my book club decided on this book, I was excited about reading it since I couldn't remember the premise of the movie. That was the only time I was excited about this book. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the author's writing or the story itself.

For the rest of the review, visit my book blog at: http://angelofmine1974.livejournal.com/62955.html

For the rest of the ( )
  booklover3258 | Nov 9, 2013 |
You're moving fast. Faster than anybody else - maybe because of the Bolivian Marching Powder you just took up your nose, maybe because you don't know any other way to be. Are you living in 1980s New York... or 2010s New York?

McInerney's book is still relevant, even though the scenery has changed a bit. A twentysomething male who wants more than he has is going to understand that relevance. The book lacks a solid conclusion... but, the more I think about it, so do books like [b:Fahrenheit 451|119787|Fahrenheit 451|Ray Bradbury|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1298939204s/119787.jpg|1272463]. Best read during early summer, when it's hot but not quite hot enough for the air conditioner - a fan will do nicely.

Raging Biblioholism: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-fo ( )
  drewsof | Jul 9, 2013 |
You are in your early twenties and living in Manhattan, it's 1980s and you work for a prestigious magazine proud of its record for factual accuracy, and you work in the department responsible for checking those facts, The Department of Factual Verification. But you aspire to writing fiction and disdain you work, and that combined with your hedonistic lifestyle results in you not always coming up to par, so your boss has it in for you. To add to your troubles your wife has left you, but you don't tell anyone other than your friend Tad Allagash, the one who leads you in your life of pleasure seeking and frequent use of drugs.

Written unusually in the second person, McInerney's first novel, which caused a stir on its firs publication, is a funny and observant account of a young man whose life is getting out of control and running down hill, a young man who refuses all offers of help to get him back on track. The problem with that is that I find it hard to empathise with the character, and if I am going to enjoy a novel that is a prerequisite. "You" are a nice enough chap, but you have too many faults that I find you hard to relate to, and very soon hard to care about, and that is important if I am really going to get involved in your story. Of course this is also a very funny account, probably much funnier than I found it to be, perhaps I tend to read too earnestly, maybe I should get someone else to read it aloud to me to appreciate the humour.

Novels written in the second person are rare, and after reading this I am not surprised, McInerney undoubtedly pulls it off, yet at the same time the constant you-you-you can grate a little. I did not enjoy this as I had hoped, I came to it after having read Nick Earl's World of chickens and having noted Earl's high praise for it (and having thorouglhy enjoyed Earl's writing thought his recommendation worth following). Some time ago I read and truly enjoyed McInerney's The Last of the Savages so had high hopes for Bright Lights . . . While I am glad to have read it, I do not feel it came quite up to expectations, nonetheless I would recommend giving it a go, it only for its rare use of the second person.

(I read his in the Bloomsbury Classics hardback edition, pub 1992, it is worth mentioning that it is a very small format edition, a pocket sized book.) ( )
  presto | Apr 22, 2012 |
The protagonist had everything: beautiful wife, apartment in the Village, a job at a prestigious magazine. When the novel begins he is in the process of losing it all. The wife is gone; her modeling career took her away to Europe and she does not intend to return. The apartment is gone, replaced by one in a less glamorous neighborhood. In the course of the next few days the job will go also, as the protagonist neglects his work for an existence of clubbing, cocaine, aimless flirtations, hungover mornings and despair.

The bright lights and the big city have attracted and repelled the American psyche for many years. Opportunity vs. temptation. A simple house that needs a housewife vs. a cramped apartment and a wife who gets a career and doesn’t need a husband anymore. Simple jobs that everyone can understand vs. the kind of job title that make the folks back home ask “is there any future in that?” Simple vices, such as too many beers on Saturday night vs. Bolivian Marching Powder snorted off the counter in the ladies room of obscure clubs.

The protagonist has had his big chance; a second chance seems possible if he is strong enough to grasp it.

Some readers may find the second person narrative a bit tedious; it is certainly unconventional and seldom used. It does, however, put the reader squarely inside the consciousness of the protagonist. Read this novel for a sample of the hectic 80s as they were lived by some--life in the fast lane. Another view of the same era can be found in _Eight Million Ways to Die_ by Lawrence Block.
  ritaer | Feb 12, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jay McInerneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Visser, ArieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"How did you go bankrupt?" Bill asked. "Two ways," Mike said. "Gradually and then suddenly."

—Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
For my mother and father, and for Merry
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You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394726413, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:23 -0400)

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Written entirely in the second person, McInerney's first novel is a vivid account of cocaine addiction.

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