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Bright Lights, Big City (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Jay McInerney
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Product Description


`A rambunctious, deadly funny novel that goes for the right mark -
the human heart' -- Raymond Carver

`McInerney earns his place in literary history with Bright Lights,
Big City, the comic morality tale' -- Guardian

`Probably the best book ever written about being young, about
doing drugs and about music' -- Tony Parsons, Daily Express

`The seminal novel of the 1980s'
-- New York Times

From the Publisher

Hailed as one of the classic New York novels of the 80s,
alongside Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, Slaves of New York by Tama
Janowitz and The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolff

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1114 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0394726413
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (10 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EPZ4KS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #225,012 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All messed up 19 July 2005
"Here you go again. All messed up and no place to go."

That line sets the tone for "Bright Lights, Big City." Jay McInerney's bestselling debut stands above other urban-angst novels of the time, which tended to go with shock value. Instead, McInerney experimented with second-person narratives and a vision of a fragmented, coke-dusted New York.

"You" are a young man living in New York, and wife Amanda has recently left you for a French photographer she met on a modelling shoot. Understandably you are depressed and unhappy, and the loss of Amanda haunts your moods, especially when her lawyer urges you to sue her for "sexual abandonment," even though you don't want a divorce.

By day, you work in the fact-checking department of a prestigious magazine, where your malignant boss is getting tired of you. By night, you halfheartedly prowl clubs with your pal Tad, doing drugs and meeting women you care nothing for. Will you be able to move past your problems and become happy again?

Consider that summary a little slice of what "Bright Lights, Big City" sounds like -- the reader is the main character, which allows the reader to slip into another's skin for a brief time. Second-person narratives are often annoying, but McInerney's style is so starkly compelling that the little narrative trick pays off.

The New York of "Bright Lights, Big City" is basically a big, glitzy, hollow place, but still strangely appealing. And McInerney adds splinters of reality here and there, like the tattooed girl and Coma Baby, which add to the gritty you-are-there feel of the novel itself.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holden Caulfield for the 1980s 19 Jan. 2010
It's difficult to write about what Bright Lights, Big City is REALLY about without giving away a major plot point, so I won't. But I'm incredulous that no one yet seems to have made the comparison with J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. The protagonist here is essentially an updated, older Holden Caulfield in an updated, older New York. In the same way that Allie's death was really the key to what was happening in Catcher, a past event that isn't mentioned until the last quarter of Bright Lights is even more so the key to understanding the book.

This novel has been woefully mischaracterised as an ode to the high-life 1980s, probably due to its ill-advised title. It's not American Psycho. It's not even about the rich; the protagonist works on a magazine, as a fact-checker. By no means does he live the high life. By no means is this a book "about being young, about doing drugs and about music", as the cover quote by Tony Parsons indicates with alarming inaccuracy. This is a book about a guy whose life has crumbled apart, and you navigate through a series of red herrings before at last you discover the real, and heartbreaking, reason.

It's Holden Caulfield for the 1980s.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Tracing a few days in the life of a 24-year-old writer whose brain is frequently inhabited by "brigades of Bolivian soldiers...tired and muddy from their long march through the night," Jay McInerney takes the reader into the world of cocaine, club-hopping (at the "right" clubs), casual sex, avoidance of responsibility, and full-time self-indulgence in the early 1980s. With absurd humor, he satirizes the "high" life of New York City and the non-stop action and party scene of young professionals whose frantic activity keeps them from having to deal with the real world.

The unnamed main character becomes the reader as the author uses the second person point of view, telling the story as "you" go to work and clubs, and jaunt around the city. "You" work for a magazine at which no one has ever been fired, and where old, burnt-out columnists maunder in the hallways (a satire of The New Yorker, perhaps). "Your" immediate assignment is to translate and fact-check an article about the French elections by a deadline that "you" cannot possibly meet.

Gradually, "your" story unfolds. Your marriage to Amanda, a fashion model from the Midwest, has collapsed after less than a year--you are devastated by her desertion, and you have told no one of your divorce. Your article for the magazine is a disaster. You avoid dealing with these issues and the death of your mother (more than a year ago) by creating a new reality for yourself through cocaine. The turning point of the action comes with the arrival of your brother Michael, who summons you back home for your mother's memorial service and the scattering of her ashes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good account of the eighties 5 Sept. 1999
By A Customer
First book I have read by the author and I will be reading more by him after this excellent book about the eighties. I saw the film years ago and always thought the book would be better. It took me a long time to get round to it but I started reading the book last week and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I would recommend this book to anyone but particularly fans of Bret Easton Ellis as although their styles differ the subject matter is similar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but something missing
I prefer Bret Easton Ellis's debut "Less Than Zero" to this. McInerney is always worth reading and there is some nice, colourful and edgy writing but I think he really found his... Read more
Published 1 month ago by keen reader
5.0 out of 5 stars 80s New York Classic
One of my favourite books ever written (I've read hundreds). If you like Fear Attraction by Mark Hume and books by Brett Easton Ellis, you will love this. Read more
Published 6 months ago by M. Hume
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not for me...
There are those books that everybody loves, but you just can't get into. Unfortunately Bright Lights, Big City was that kind of book for me. Read more
Published 7 months ago by marcia siebers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book, inspiring.
Published 7 months ago by Andyc197
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a very good book
Published 9 months ago by AG
3.0 out of 5 stars Some great moments but overall unconvincing and narrative tense fell...
Some great moments but overall unconvincing and narrative tense fell short of expectation. I never felt that "I" was in the underbelly of the Manhattan drug-scene, but did... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Book reviewer for the casual reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Jay McInerney"s first book and his best. He goes downhill from here, slowly but downhill. He ends writing wine reviews
Published 17 months ago by John Selwyn Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia
Reading this nearly thirty years after the fact, BLBC becomes more than it was when it was first released, because there is so much nostalgia for the reader who lived through the... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Grace Noted
5.0 out of 5 stars Book For 20 Somethings
Book for 20 somethings that encourages them to give up the silly stuff and get a life - much to be admired here.
Published on 17 May 2013 by Dan Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book...
This is not a huge book but what it lack in length it makes up for in quality and impact. Not many novels will change the landscape of literature, but "Bright Lights" did, ushering... Read more
Published on 7 April 2013 by J. Craven
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