Customer Reviews


13 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brightness Falls but Brilliance Rises
This, rather than his more epic but also more flawed Last Of The Savages, is McInerney's closest and most successful stab at the great American novel. Beautifully structured, perfectly characterised with passages of writing at once humorous and heartbreaking, the novel manges to be as epic in scope as its New York setting yet as intimate and compelling as the marriage it...
Published on 18 Jun 2002

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars awful
I'd read 'bright lights' after seeing it in the 'da funk' video. I found that to be laugh out loud funny and mcinerney's prose to be spare and at times gasp inducing in its accuracy, even touching. So, I tried 'Model Behaviour'. I found that to be a bit of a whine fest and thinly veiled vindictiveness towards presumably an ex partner, although, admittedly it was a bit...
Published 15 months ago by Mr. N. J. Milton


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brightness Falls but Brilliance Rises, 18 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This, rather than his more epic but also more flawed Last Of The Savages, is McInerney's closest and most successful stab at the great American novel. Beautifully structured, perfectly characterised with passages of writing at once humorous and heartbreaking, the novel manges to be as epic in scope as its New York setting yet as intimate and compelling as the marriage it portrays. The only real comparison to do it justice is Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night, another novel that succeeded in telling us all about a time and a place at a particular period through telling us about two people and their strange and yet ultimately sustaining love. Because the author is rightly seen as a humourist it is easy to forget that that few modern writers can cast an eye on places and people at once sharply objective and wryly compassionate and it is also forgotten what a fine writer McInerney can be, something he demonstrates amply and consistently in Brighntess Falls. A fine romance, a lovesong to a city and an era passed, a surprising portrait of what marrigage is and does, a tender social satire and something like a modern classic, I would highly recommnend this underated book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden..., 12 July 2013
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
Every now and again you read a book where the main players become your friends. McInerney's ability to convince a reader that they are listening to a story told by a friend, of a friend, rather than a fictional tale, amazes me.

'Brightness Falls' revolves around the 'golden' couple - Russell and Corrine Calloway - and their social and work-related highs and lows. Russell is a fantastically easy-to-read (and easy-to-like) character, displaying his every emotion to the people around him, whilst Corrine is the quieter and more withdrawn of the two, preferring to keep her problems bottled up.

McInerney's vivid account of their lives presents the reader with a gripping insider's look at 1980s New York City. Only he could make a very basic domestic set-up like this so utterly compelling and tremendously captivating.

I adore the simplicity of this book and McInerney's witty 'see-it-tell-it' style that distinguishes him from other over-embellishing authors of this era.

A must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE this book!, 4 Mar 2002
I think very carefully before I give a book five stars, but I found this story so captivating and well-written, that in my opinion, it deserves it!
The story follows the lives of a young married couple living in New York. It tells the highs and the lows of their life together, and their working lives, and documents the pressures they are under, and the effect is has on their marriage.
Like Bonfire of the Vanities, what appeals to me most about this book is that it shows us a whole cross-section of New York life, from the millionaires with their chic apartments and holiday homes, to the homeless in their shanty town in the Lower East Side. Manhattan as a backdrop is an essential part of the story.
The characters are believable and likeable, and although the story concentrates on two main people, the surrounding characters are well developed too.
Jay McInerney has excelled himself, producing a novel that is hard to put down. I highly recommend this book to both the casual reader, and anyone who has an interest in Sociology or Urban Geography.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dark is Rising, 25 May 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After the wit and brevity of Bright Lights..., Story of My Life and Ransom, Brightness Falls is McInerney's effortful biggie, 400+ pages and witty rather than comic. It covers a year in the life of husband and wife Russell and Corrine Calloway. He's a publisher and she's a stock dealer, and their marriage will pretty soon be in trouble. As the action takes place in the year to October 1987, you can probably guess where we're heading. Yes, it's an historical novel (although he wrote it contemporaneously) with all the prerequisites of 80s Manhattan life, down to and including a big disease with a little name.

Plotwise, even the blurb finds it difficult to make the book sound interesting, feebly tailing off with a Robert Goddard-esque "None of them would ever be the same again..." Because the plot itself wouldn't drive you wild with desire, unless you like to read about management buyouts and corporate shafting. It starts off weakly too, with that most dangerous of set pieces, the dinner party, so the author can introduce lots of characters at once. (The disappointing Gosford Park, the careful will recall, was one big dinner party scene.) But it settles down quite quickly and once he entered the mind of Corrine in chapter 3, I was hooked. The book then trundles on for 400 agreeable pages, with everyone suffering minor setbacks but nothing too serious - they are the beautiful people, after all - even the writer who goes cold turkey in a rehab clinic seems to take it all with insouciance and a dry wit. (Up to a point.)

Where Brightness Falls succeeds best, though, is in making you think that this is a retelling of some archetypal story that you already knew. "Ah yes," you find yourself thinking throughout, "this is that book about the yuppies who lose it all..." It almost makes you believe that Brightness Falls is the original myth - if it hadn't been for Bonfire of the Vanities... And readers of McInerney's last novel Model Behaviour may recognise a plot point, lifted wholesale from Brightness Falls and redelivered (rather more successfully, I might add) in humorous context. A book, then, that is in both senses of the word, truly *economic.*
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A fulfilling, substantial read, 1 Jun 2008
By 
Dr. J. S. E. Sullivan-lyons "Dr. Jo" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
If, like me, you were young in the loadsamoney late 80s, then this book will bring back memories and confirm all your suscpicions about 'the beautiful people'.

This is not a quick read: it could not be done in one sitting by even the fastest speed readers. However, part of the pleasure of this book is the depth with which all the characters are drawn and the mounting tension as things reach breaking point in all aspects of life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McInerney's best: thoroughly involving, 10 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
I've enjoyed all of McInerney's novels, but this is by far my favourite. Goes further than 'Bright Lights', 'Story of My Life' and the disappointing 'Model Behaviour' in presenting interesting characters with a depth that I found extremely involving. 'Brightness Falls' provides a very moving account of a relationship breakdown at an interesting point in history. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The Dimming of Fortunes, 24 Nov 2013
By 
J. Ang - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
Jay McInerney's novel is one of those works which has a setting so firmly set in the eighties you can almost feel shoulder pads growing on your shoulders as you enter the lives of 30ish power yuppie couple, Russell and Corinne Calloway. Although it was published in the early nineties, the story takes place in 1987. There is a kind of retro-chic vibe to reading about Wall Street in Lower Manhattan right before its dramatic crash that same year, in tandem with the downward spiral of the Calloways, the prematurely jaded urbanites who have not entirely left behind their heady drugs-n-booze filled college days.

The Calloways are Hollywoodishly-attractive - Corinne is a runway model-thin blonde stock broker struggling to leave behind her eating disorder. Russell, a would-be-poet who inevitably gave up his literary aspirations and `settled' for a more corporate position as a promising junior editor at the esteemed publishing firm, which he eventually tries to buy over with the help of a shady mafia boss-like player in the industry, Bernie Melman. Russell still retains traces of his manchild persona, but is fast approaching the use-by-date for clumsy oafish cuteness (his nickname is `Crash Calloway' and Corinne knowingly alludes to this lost of appeal when relating to their friend Washington, that he had been crashing less into things these days). Washington leads another story arc that deals with the woes of being black in corporate America. McInerney somewhat succeeds to this end, if only he hadn't made Washington exhibit all the custom shenanigans that ironically make him the very stereotype that McInerney seems to be protesting.

But in case the reader misreads the Calloways as mere caricatures of the opportunistic and excessive eighties, McInerney frames the introduction through (we later find out) the eyes of Jeff, their writer friend, in danger of becoming a one-hit wonder in the literary world, and recovering at rehab. Jeff, qualifies his ambivalent view of them as such: "Begin with an individual and you'll find you've got nothing but ambiguity and compassion: if you intend violence, stick with the type." McInerney fashions Corinne as a somewhat a redemptive figure. While retaining her grip on the gritty reality of New York and its ways, she volunteers at a soup kitchen downtown, but ultimately her view of the underprivileged is still rose-tinted, despite her nobler intentions, as she finds out later in the novel when encountering personal violence. She acts as the voice of conscience, though unsuccessfully, to Russell, whom we see gets drawn into the lure of power and money, even as she backs away from it. Corinne could potentially be an effective character, but she too, is too weak, and eventually succumbs to the trappings of various trademark flailing, betrayed female characters on the verge of a meltdown. In other words, she retreats into her shell and lets her demons take over as Russell flounders.

In a way, having read McInerney's later book about the Calloways circa 9/11 "The Good Life", in which Corinne takes centrestage as a middle-aged woman fighting infidelity, before this novel, may have skewed my impressions of characters and storylines, but it also gives me a feeling of pathos towards these failed characters and their private dramas. As is seen in his other novels, McInerney's prose is sharp and clean, and befitting the brusque and fast-paced life in the city.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars awful, 18 July 2013
By 
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
I'd read 'bright lights' after seeing it in the 'da funk' video. I found that to be laugh out loud funny and mcinerney's prose to be spare and at times gasp inducing in its accuracy, even touching. So, I tried 'Model Behaviour'. I found that to be a bit of a whine fest and thinly veiled vindictiveness towards presumably an ex partner, although, admittedly it was a bit over my head. I wanted to read 'the good life' to see how the author depicted 9/11, so thought i'd better read the prequel.

I've got just over 300 words into it and i can barely bring myself to finish it. Mcinerney clearly has an understanding of economics and the world of business, which I don't, but i found this to be tedius. The publishing side was a little more interesting. His characters are hackneyed and i agree with the reviewer that said this reads like a soap opera. I'm starting to think that mcinerney is a misogynist that attempts, often rather poorly, to try to say the right thing to impress women so he might get some.

He belabours points; his descriptions often making me cringe, particularly the sex scenes. At one point he splits an infinitive. For all the vocabulary he commands, he's really just fleshing out a trashy lipstick novel, which would perhaps be fine if it wasn't so self important. This is not a great work of literature. He just about gets away with his portrayal of negroes. Not that I particularly cared for this bunch of yuppies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Clever expose, 9 April 2012
By 
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
Clever expose of the 1980s New York business world seen through the eyes of publisher Russell and broker Corrine. All seems unassailable - profits, privilege, protected positions. But the pendulum swings, as ever in life. Insightful with well-drawn characters but overall a fairly lightweight read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars McInerney Falls, 30 Dec 2009
This review is from: Brightness Falls (Paperback)
Russell `Crash' Calloway is a rising star in the New York publishing industry. He is also a man with a problem: his boss is getting jealous and blocking Calloway's opportunities. In other places, people might just look for a new job, but this is the 1980s, and it is after all New York, so Calloway hooks up with a mean Wall Street financier and a sexy M&A adviser and embarks on a hostile bid for the company. Corrine, his conscientious stock broker wife worries that he is getting out of his depth.

The novel is a colourful and occasionally funny panorama of 1980s Manhattan, from the investment bankers down to the homeless drug addicts. It is a book with a sense of time and place, and with an eye for the detail of the publishing and financing businesses. But does the world need another panoramic novel on New York society? The Bonfire of the Vanities was pretty good.

Brightness Falls is okay as a piece of light satire, or soap opera, but I get the impression that McInerney is aiming for something higher. The story or Russell and Corrine, with their perfect marriage, together with some unsavoury secrets, reminds me of Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night. The impression is compounded by references to Ernest Hemingway, Robert Hass, and Thomas Nashe. Sorry Jay, but I'm afraid you're not really in the same class. If this seems unfair, just consider the following lines. "A May morning as crisp as a fresh currency" (cliché!); "...he was deranged and bitter, like a man who has just discovered his wife's infidelity..." (cliché!); or "...her body was like a bladder full of dense, foul-smelling substance..." ('substance' is particularly unimaginative, as if McInerney couldn't be bothered to think of something dense and foul-smelling).

Curious to observe the strange decline of McInerney's writing - I thought Bright Lights, Big City was pretty good.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Brightness Falls
Brightness Falls by Jay McInerney (Paperback - 6 Feb 2006)
£8.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews