Monday, May 22, 2017

"Bright, Precious Days" the latest from Jay McInerney

It had been a very long time since a book by Jay McInerney was picked up here.  With his first book in 1984, Bright Lights, Big City, he lit up New York City storytelling for his generation at the time. Reading from it to my office mates one morning, everyone genuinely laughed.  What I did was not particularly normal at a bank.

One or two subsequent books from the library were tried in the late 80's and early 90's, but did not have the same appeal.  Several weeks ago his 2016 book was in my hands.  Could it be worth reading.

It was, to my surprise.  While it is primarily a story about faux literate and upper middle class and wealthy Manhattan and Hampton's residents, and their personal relationships set in 2008 and 2009, there were observations ranging from astute and humorous to glib and uninformed that pulled the story along in fits and starts. Following the locations in Manhattan was the glue here.  Like many writers of his generation, just pulling together enough places and things is essential.  In this instance, with "Bright, Precious Days", the personal journey through all of the streets and destinations was enjoyed, since almost all were known well but not visited in the recent years.

McInernay is talented, but he is a huge notch below Yates, Updike, Cheever, and their generation's best writers.  At this point, a week later, much of the story is not compelling enough to be remembered in any detail but I did enjoy the few days of reading and looking back. The Manhattan backdrop was compelling.

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