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4.2 out of 5 stars
Model Behaviour
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on 25 May 2002
Model Behaviour is a comic novel to show the rest how it's done - as cleverly witty as you always hoped Stephen Fry's fiction was going to be, but anchored to a firm intelligence and interest in people. As a comedy set in the world of American modelling and media, it bears comparison obviously to Bret Easton Ellis's Glamorama, but it's far more finely tuned than that book, a laser beam to Ellis's controlled explosion. It's more comprehensible as well, and fits its entire length into as many words as Ellis used in the first section of Glamorama alone... Otherwise it's interesting to note the two writers' different approaches to the fictional world of celebrity. Ellis is a writer fascinated by its glamour and disguises this by having a dumb-ass male model who is supposed to be a satirical figure but actually illuminates Ellis' unironic love of it all. McInerney conversely shows his genuine disdain with a narrator who believes himself "above it all" but really secretly doesn't want out.

Anyway Model Behaviour is narrated by Connor McKnight, a jobbing hack for CiaoBella! magazine. He is going out with a model, Philomena, who suddenly doesn't come home one day. Despite his easy way with all the modern world's instant communication tools, he cannot get in touch with her. Meanwhile he is receiving increasingly scary emails from an obsessive fan of his journalism. He is trying to keep his job by getting an interview with the latest Hollywood heartthrob; he is worried about his brainiac anorexic sister; and his best friend has a book coming out and is worried about the reviews. If it all sounds painfully incestuous and inward-looking, don't be put off. McInerney has a few surprises in store, a genuinely engaging protagonist, and one of those effortless styles that we're always being told is as hard to write as it is easy to read. I believe them. Model Behaviour is a small masterpiece.
11 people found this helpful
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on 17 July 1999
This fine novel from McInerney is his best yet and is a searing account of life for the artists (of whatever sort) in America.
To say that I enjoyed this novel almost seems a shame, such is the invective that is hidden just below the surface of the witty one-liners that cover the book. It is as if one should be perhaps ashamed for recognising ourselves in the reflection afforded by the narrative and as much as we try and cover it up, our weaknesses and foibles are revealed and magnified.
McInerney could be thought of as being a man of throw-away lines, but there is far more to this book than a comedy: it's an excellent perspective on the state of 90's life and for that alone comes highly recommended. Time taken to consider this novel's implications is time well spent.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 May 2015
This is McInerney on fine form here. He cleverly probes, dissects and scrutinises the ever compelling and ever shallow world of fame and fashions and does so with comical aplomb taking many facile obsessions to task but doesn't sacrifice the quality or enjoyment of the writing. This a highly amusing and smart novel. Definitely one of his best.
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on 7 August 2001
This is a wonderfully written, sharp over view of the lives of some of the 'beautiful' people, the lost and the lonely. McInerney creates the impression that he loves and despises these characters at the same time. There is an overwhelming hopelessness about them and this leaves me a little sad. I love the humour and I accept the despairing feel of the written word. Maybe the novel whispers hope quietly, it does,however, scream we are doomed to hide in the shadows. With every piece of writing he seems to get closer to Fitzgerald with a twisted smile.
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on 11 July 1999
Model behaviour is thought to be by many critics as the "Big Light , Big Cities" of the 90s. As I have read that book as well I agree with this view. However I must say that McInerney's writing now seems more relaxed as he writes as if he is having conersations with friends. Clever writing , very nice structured book . I recommend it to those who would like to get an insight of the fashion/media culture of New York. One of Mcinerney's best.
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on 14 October 2012
Another touch of class from a talented author. McInerney is fast becoming my all-time favourite writer. Model Behaviour is not his usual fare but still up there with his best. A bit of a mystery and a bit of a social commentary but not in any way a boring state of the nation story. Loved it.
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on 21 October 2000
McInerney excellently captures snapshots of life with ease, without a wasted word you feel drawn into the characters with the story flowing behind. With many a classic line that will have you laugh out loud on public transport! If you liked 'Bright Lights..' you will enjoy this book.
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