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Brightness Falls

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About the Author

Jay McInerney is the author of eight novels, a collection of short stories and three collections of essays on wine. He lives in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.


The author of Bright Lights, Big City ( LJ 10/1/84) again offers an amusing and perceptive morality tale of Eighties excess. Russell Calloway, an editor for a major publishing house, and his stockbroker wife Corrine appear to be the perfect New York couple. Dissatisfied with the management of his publishing company, Russell organizes a hostile takeover bid and embarks on an affair with Trina, his investment banker. But he loses his shirt in the 1987 stock market crash, Corrine leaves him, and his best friend commits suicide. McInerney wryly examines the dilemma of people in their 30s who came of age with sex, drugs, and rock and roll and must now come to grips with adult responsibilities. Replete with ironic insight, wit, and style, this is highly recommended for popular fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/92.-- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio

The strengths of McInerney's ( Bright Lights, Big City ) writing are easily evident: his lithe, sly sentences coil around contemporanea (things, people, New York City) with adroit wit, rhythm and shrewdness. Yet his fourth novel, a well-plotted generational portrait of a cadre of once-sweet, young, driven friends in Manhattan whose hopes and chances of success seem to be fading as the '80s totter to a close, is perhaps too intent on getting this message across to fully convince on the level of character. Corinne and Russell Calloway, the novel's focus, are married and awhirl in the nether end of limitless aspirations (he's an ebullient rising editor at a publishing house that resembles a cross between Atlantic Monthly Press and Farrar, Straus & Giroux; she's a good-hearted stockbroker). Their familiars include Jeff Pierce, a writer and addict who almost self-destructs; Washington Lee, a cynical, swashbuckling black book editor; Victor Propp, the literary genius whose fame rests on the fact that he can't finish his magnum opus; and eddying extras on the margins--shantytown dwellers, Upper East Side epigones, Wall Street savants. McInerney snares them all in a satirical chronicle that has decidedly tender moments. Still, skillful, light-handed mockery tends to outweigh tenderness: there simply seems more cause for it--and it's so deftly done. BOMC and QPB alternates; first serial to Esquire. (June)

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