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The Good Life Paperback – 5 Feb 2007


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The Good Life + Brightness Falls + The Last of the Savages
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (5 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747585814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747585817
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

`A tender analysis of the slow disintegration of two young
families ... Moving, thoughtful and altogether surprising' -- Arena

`His best book since Bright Lights, Big City ... a very subtle,
incredibly insightful, heartbreaking story' -- James Frey

`Humane and emotionally gripping'
-- Daily Mail

`McInerney writes with compassion and wit and is never better than
when observing the social mores of his contemporaries' -- Tatler

About the Author

Jay McInerney is the author of the novels, Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, The Last of the Savages and Model Behaviour, as well as one story collection How It Ended. He lives in New York and Nashville.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 July 2008
Format: Paperback
I've read McInerney's Brightness Falls twice, and greatly enjoyed its portrayal of a specific historical event (the stock market crash of 1987) and its impact on Russell and Corrine, a stylish, likeable but flawed couple, and their friends and life in Manhattan. In this book, he places them in the path of an even bigger event, and traces out their trajectories as their lives are shattered and remodelled in the wake of September 11. He brings back a few other characters from the earlier book, but also introduces some new ones - retired investment banker Luke, his socialite wife Sasha and their unstable teenaged daughter Ashley.

It's not hard to guess what the role of Luke is going to turn out to be as he stumbles up West Broadway, away from the nightmare of ash, smoke and death, and encounters Corrine, who offers him "a bottle of Evian" (even in moments of crisis, McInerney's knack for product placement doesn't falter). And, from that point onwards, the event fades into the background as we concentrate on their relationship. On the whole, this is probably a wise move, since writing more directly about the cataclysm and its aftermath is probably too challenging to pull off convincingly.

And McInerney deftly traces out the themes of desire, betrayal, duty and fidelity in a way that's thoroughly engrossing, particularly when he gives us Corrine's point of view. Only at the very end does he bring the story full circle with an elegaic connection between the way in which this all started, and the way it ends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Fitzpatrick on 30 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Domestic squabbles involving bored, betrayed and battered well-off middle-aged Manhattanites set against the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade center in New York. The author does not try to recreate the devastating attack or the immediate aftermath and the damage and horror is expressed more in terms of its effect on the characters, their fear for the future and how they can recreate their shattered lives. Since most of their lives were already emotionally shattered the attacks serve to provide them with an excuse to start again. The result is a series of doomed affairs and attempts to rebuild bridges to their children and other relatives.
The book is worth reading and although it has some dramatic and melodramatic scenes, the overall tone is rather subdued. Much of the ending even takes place far from New York, in Tennessee, although this part comes over as rather trite.
Overall, the book is like one of those Woody Allen films or the Seinfeld TV show in which grown adults living in New York act like silly adolescents and you wonder if they will ever grow up. If you have read McInerney's most famous books "Brightness Falls" (in which some of the characters of The Good Life appear) or Bright Lights, Big City you'll know what I mean.
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Format: Paperback
Very often a book comes along which you can't put down; more rarely is it the case where you become bitterly disappointed when a book finishes, and that's how I felt at the conclusion of Jay McInerney's 'The Good Life'.

'The Good Life' is nominally a sequel to 'Brightness Falls' but works equally well as a standalone book. Readers of 'Brightness Falls' will not feel like McInerney is reintroducing the nuances of characters excessively while first-time readers will feel like they know the key characters within just a few pages.

The key theme of this book is the degradation of relationships as people move into middle age. For anyone who's been through relationship counselling or ultimately separation and divorce the decriptions of widening distance in a relationship will be all too familiar. The whole thing is framed by the loss of friends in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the guilt - towards those they have lost, their spouses and their kids - felt by Corrinne Calloway and Luke McGavock as they begin a tentative affair among the rubble and devastation of the World Trade Center.

Like most books set in Manhattan, the city itself and its restaurants, bars and overlapping societal groupings feature large, almost as another character in the dialogue. Whilst the tragedy of 9/11 looms over the story overall, this shouldn't be regarded as just another of the many books documenting the impact on individuals and families of that tragic day.

Like all McInerney novels, this is essential.
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By Tico Feo on 12 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I am always slightly sceptical about sequels and follow-up novels as I often feel let down by the second outing. 'Brightness Falls' blew me away with its effortless narrative and witty prose, and thankfully 'The Good Life' had the same effect.

It was interesting to see how McInerney used the 9/11 disaster to show the change in his two main characters, and their new, more grown-up approach to life in New York City. The partying and professional aspirations written about in 'Brightness Falls' are now replaced by parenthood and financial struggle.

For me, it was hard to deal with the introduction of Luke McGavock and the effect he had on Corrine. The story was less focused on Russell Calloway - a favourite character of mine - and more concerned with infidelity and the affair between Corrine and Luke.

However, this was still an extremely compelling read and I had no idea how McInerney would end it. The final chapter had me so gripped, my face so close to the pages, that I could almost smell Luke's aftershave.

This is another wonderful McInerney novel, and another must-read.
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