Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Lights, Big CityPublished in 1984, Bright Lights, Big City is famous for being a novel narrated entirely in the second person although it s neither the first or the only book to do that, somehow it became one of the better known examples of this technique Apparently, the novel began its life as a short story Jay McInerney published in a literary magazine, and which he later expanded into a full novel.Aside from the neat narrative trick, there is not much that one can say about the contents of the novel itself The anonymous narrator, obviously based on McInerey himself, spends his days working at the department of Factual Verification for a magazine in New York, and his nights partying at the local clubs One of the first things which strikes the contemporary reader is how amusingly dated the book is For obvious reasons, no one uses a computer the narrator and others do their job the old way, finding information in actual records and via telephone calls to various sources Despite little evidence of the narrator doing much actual work requiring actual skill, he somehow manages to live in Manhattan, go to parties and get high on cocaine most of the time.There is little to say about the narrator although unhappy, he remains resigned throughout most of the novel Despite wanting to work at the fiction department, he never once tries producing any actual fiction although he feels alienated and misses his former wife, there is little to suggest that he is actually willing or even capable of pursuing a real relationship with anyone The few biographical snippets which aim to give usinsight into the narrator s character a look at the early days of his marriage, a visit by his brother ultimately turn out to not be enough to arouse any interest in someone who is thoroughly uninteresting, even if he is you It does not help that the background characters are entirely forgettable including the narrator s wife, and his friend and mentor, Tad Allagash, about whom we learn littlethan his name Ultimately, there is little reason to care about anything that happens in the novel as the narrator does not care very much either, and in the end this was exactly my reaction I did not care at all.This is not a terrible book, but it s a period piece through and through There are a few good lines throughout the text my favorite beingYou are a republic of voices tonight Unfortunately, that republic is Italy, but Jay McInerney is no Bret Easton Ellis, and Bright Lights, Big City is not Less Than Zero and definitely not American Psycho, both of which feature similar themes but are much better books. This book is one I believe everyone should read The subject matter is poignant, still relevant and given the subject matter extremely clean Along with many, this book seems to me a prequel to Bret Easton Ellis s take on hip New York While finishing it, I considered starting it over from the beginning immediately but have decided to reread American Psycho first Bright Lights, Big City is a fast read and I think it is worth your time. With The Publication Of Bright Lights, Big City In , 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 You ve been meaning to read BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY for years, ever since hearing that it s written in the second person You were intrigued, understandably Point of view in fiction has always been an area of interest, and you might be described as a sucker for narrative gimmicks.While preparing for a trip to Manhattan, you entertained romantic fantasies of reading a novel set in New York during your stay You forgot, as you always do, that you never manage to read while traveling, and that at best, you might get through a few chapters on the plane before falling asleep You brought an optimistic two novels and didn t even open them, so it wasn t until after your return that you finally started BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY.The second person narration was strange at first You kept stopping to stare at that word and analyze how it made you feel to be cast in the role of a coke fueled, miserable young guy in early 80s New York But these days you always focus too much on the words at the beginning of a book When the writing is good and in this case it is you get pulled into the story soon enough.Still, even as you were enjoying the breakneck ride through nightclub debauchery and the contrasting sobriety of a respected magazine s Department of Factual Verification, you did keep thinking about the effect Were you drawn closer to the narrator and his muddled thoughts because the novel said that he was you Or were you kept at a greater distance by a character in denial who refused to call himself I You feel it s both at once somehow, and that it works for the story, and that you re glad you aren t a real book reviewer so you don t have to think about it harder than that.You could never be a real book reviewer. perhaps the best things i can say about this one are that it perfectly captured a perfectly nauseating time period in the mid 80s and it certainly reinvigorated the use of second person narrative with surprising elan perhaps the worst thing i could say about this one is that It Drove Me Up The Wall With Its Pathetically Entitled Non Entity Of A So Called Protagonist And It Somehow Made It Okay To Be A Pretentious Whiny Twit And Nihilistic Fuck. well ok then man i guess it s all about you mark, you re so Bright Lights, Big City. Thanks to Bookface, you no longer get this book mixed up with American Psycho, and can now easily tell the difference between Bret Easton Ellis and Jay MacInerney Good thing you cleared that right up before you embarrassed yourself at one of those writerly New York parties you re always getting invited to It would ve been awful to have spilled your drink on the wrong author, for the wrong reason whew This book is about how terrible people s lives were before the Internet was invented.It is exactly what you expect it to be, only slightlypalatable It s actually a fairly good substance abuse yarn not normally your favorite genre , and it s a passable coming to ny period piece novel It s not great or anything, but if you might as well pick up a fifty cent copy at a garage sale to pull out on a slow day or you might as well not You always give a certain grudging respect to a book that has you rooting for a character you d normally hate in real life, and since you appreciate that sort of thing, you could do worse than this book.Then again, you could also do better. I was almost tempted to give this five stars an honor I ve bestowed upon just two books all year This book surprised me Here was a character who, yes, snorts cocaine and passes out in bathrooms but he has a conscience The second person narrative is effortless McInerney is a part of the literary brat pack, so his work is lumped in along with Bret Easton Ellis s I remember Less than Zero as a confusing jumble of drug feuled ramblings about ex girlfriends, overdoses, fast cars, and prostitution Bright Lights, Big City is grown up in comparison with its themes of love, work, and family the party culture isof a backdrop than the main stage for the events that take place.The next time I read this I ll do it with a pen in hand several lines struck me as poignant or funny I ll probably have to buy my own copy for this exercise Here s one such line, when he s trying to make sense of a break up But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name. You decide to read this book because it was written in the second person This is interesting to you You ve never read a book written in that manner, at least you can t remember if you have This seems like a pretentious idea to you, but you are curious You like the bookthan you expected to It isn t all that dated Sure, lots of NYC landmarks have changed, but the gist is still the same You identify with the main character You decide that if you lived in NYC in 1984, this would probably have been your life You ignore the fact that dance clubs and cocaine still exist, and you could actually choose this life if you wanted but you actively avoid it.McInerney, you realize, actually wrote that book that every 20 or 30 something guy with a liberal arts degree who spends their time wandering the city imagines they are constantly on the verge of writing And it turned out pretty good You are a little jealous Except for the dialogue Once again, it glares You wonder if this is the most common problem with writing Bad dialogue People saying too much Too much information in what would be a briefer conversation Fictional people always seem to have too many words to say That s why Cormac McCarthy did such a good job in his book He doesn t make people say too much You consider writing a review in the second person You decide this would be REALLY pretentious That makes you happy, for some reason You don t have anything better to do You check the other reviews of the book You realize that lots of other people have done the same exact thing You decide you don t want to be a bandwagon reviewer You are wittier than that Then you realize that you actually are lazy and unoriginal and that s why McInerney had already worked at the New Yorker and published this book by 29 and you haven t written or published a damn thing and you re almost 31 You decide to leave the review as written. Your brain at this moment is composed of brigades of tiny Bolivian soldiers They are tired and muddy from their long march through the night There are holes in their boots and they are hungry They need to be fed The need the Bolivian Marching Powder Quote from the opening scene of this 1984 Jay McInerney novel told in cool, hip, drug hyped second person But, alas, this is merely the surface Each time I read this book, I comprehendclearly how the words on every page have sharp razor like edges that cut into the heart of the narrator However, to say specifically why this is so would be to say too much since thecomplete story of what the narrator is going through is not disclosed until the closing chapters.Below are my comments coupled with one line snappers from the novel s main character, a 24 year old coke snorting would be writer working as a fact checker for a New Yorker like magazine and living in a downtown apartment by himself after Amanda, his fashion model wife, called telling him she isn t coming back and he will be hearing from her lawyer to settle the divorce The girl with the shaved head has a scar tattooed on her scalp It looks like a long, sutured gash You tell her it is very realistic She takes this as a compliment and thanks you You meant as opposed to romantic I could use one of those right over my heart, you say The narrator s words foreshadow how he really isn t after the thrills of the hip scene but something emotionally deeper and muchpersonal I can appreciate how many dislike the novel and the whining, distressed voice of the narrator since, in many respects, his emotional turmoil is similar to that other sensitive, distraught, whining 16 year old back in the late 1940s Holden Caulfield in J D Salinger s classic It s 10 58 You ve worn out the line about the subway breaking down Maybe tell Clara you stopped to take a free look at Kinky Karla and got bitten by her snake Clara is the narrator s boss at the fact finding department Kinky Karla and her snake one of the thrills the old street hawkers hawk out on the street Both of these worlds the clock driven, drab, humdrum office and the blaring girls girls girls sleaze are exactly what the narrator in his current anguished state does not need There was a cartoon you used to watch with a time traveling turtle and a benevolent wizard The turtle would journey back to say, the French revolution, inevitably getting in way over his head At the last minute, when he was stretched out under the guillotine, he would cry out, Help, Mr Wizard And the wizard, on the other end of the time warp, would wave his wand and rescue the hapless turtle Ha A common wish, particularly among young adults, to be saved from the need to do a 9 5 pressure cooker job All of my education for this Mr Wizard, please get me the hell out of here Sorry, life isn t a cartoon you will have to find your own way out You insert another piece of paper, again you type the date At the left margin you type, Dear Amanda, but when you look at the paper it reads, Dead Amanda Screw this You are not going to commit any great literature tonight So telling Writing fiction nearly always requires an emotional distance when one is undergoing extreme personal upset, such as our novel s narrator, it is next to impossible to move past drafting the first paragraph Wade saunters in and stops in front of your desk He looks at you and clicks his tongue What kind of flowers do you want on your grave I already have the epitaph He didn t face facts This exchange after the narrator, by his own admission, completely screwed up in performing his job His refusal to face and deal with his life beyond the office gives an ironic twist to He didn t face facts When you first came to the city you spent a night here with Amanda You have friends to stay with but you wanted to spend that first night at the Plaza Your tenth floor room was tiny and overlooked an airshaft though you could not see the city out the window, you believed that it was spread out at your feet The limousines around the entrances seemed like carriages, and you felt that someday one would wait for you Today they put you in mind of carrion birds, and you cannot believe your dreams were so shallow Such is the truth of the city if you have money and are on the rise, the Big Apple is a dream come true if you are penniless and on the skids, it quickly turns into a cold, cruel deathtrap.This was Jay McInerney s first novel He went on to write a half a dozen , but none having nearly the hype and fame as this one Curiously, from what I gather, Jay has spent much of the last thirty years attempting to separate his personal identity from the identity of this novel s narrator Such is the power of literature. IL GIORNO COME SEMPRE SAR Tu non sei esattamente il tipo di persona che ci si aspetterebbe di vedere in un posto come questo a quest ora del mattino.Questo l incipit, comincia proprio cos.Bright Lights, Big City Le mille luci di New York.E perch lui e il posto e l ora del giorno non si accordano Perch a quell ora, le 4 del mattino, lui dovrebbe essere a casa a dormire, la mattina dopo deve andare al lavoro Sar uno straccio per aver passato la notte in piedi Averla passata sniffando coca boliviana Al punto da non sapere dove si trova Infatti, il posto a lui poco chiaro sa per certo che un locale notturno, chiamiamolo nightclub, ma potrebbe essere l Heartbreak, oppure il Lizard Lounge La coca boliviana e l alcol, ingeriti in quantit allegre, gli annebbiano il cervello, e quindi, non ben sicuro di sapere dove si trova.Sa per che appoggiato a un pilastro, che potrebbe non essere portante ma di sicuro importante per lui perch se non ci fosse appoggiato sarebbe sul pavimento e sta parlando con una ragazza che ha la testa rasata a zero e che forse gli ha detto come si chiama ma certo lui non se lo ricorda.Michael J Fox, inadatto al ruolo, miscasted, viene battezzato Jamie.Chi lui quello che in Italia chiameremmo un giovane aspirante scrittore Invece, in US lo chiamerebbero solo aspirante scrittore, senza giovane, perch avendo superato i 25 anni, non ha pi diritto a questo appellativo.Non sappiamo come si chiama, il suo nome non compare mai, l unico che rimane ignoto, un protagonista cos depresso da non avere neanche un nome lavora in un importante rivista con chiaro riferimento al New Yorker al reparto fact checking verifica dei fatti , uno di quei lavori che in Italia non esistono, e non si pensa neppure ad avviarli, uno di quei lavori fondamentali ma per nulla scintillanti E s , gli piace scrivere, e ancor pi gli piacerebbe pubblicare, magari una raccolta di racconti, cominciando da uno qui e uno l su qualche rivista, come di solito si inizia la carriera di scrittore da quelle parti.Siamo all inizio degli anni Ottanta il romanzo uscito nel 1984 e questo importante perch queste pagine rappresentano la quintessenza di quel periodo, ne sono figlie, e al contempo, lo illuminano, lo spiegano, lo raccontano E anche negli anni dell edonismo reaganiano, degli yuppie, dell economia che andava a gonfie vele, e tutto sembrava in crescita, quando finalmente l uomo bianco occidentale, forse per la prima volta, si trovava tra le mani una vita che sembra senza punti negativi, anche in quel momento, dietro la copertina luccicante, scostando il velo Kiefer Sutherland l amico Tad che procura la cocaina al protagonista.Come mai questo protagonista cos depresso da non avere neanche un nome Perch la sua bellissima moglie l ha appena lasciato Lei una modella, andata a Parigi per sfilare, lo ha chiamato da l per dirgli non torno, rimango qui, tra noi finita, grazie di tutto, bye bye Prima di partire per Parigi, Amanda, ha prestato ils uo viso come calco per un manichino stata un ora e mezza col viso coperto da una maschera di lattice respirando attraverso due cannucce infilate nelle narici.E adesso che stato liquidato con una semplice breve telefonata, lui la vede in giro per la citt , dietro le vetrine di Bloomingdale, nei manichinie sposti.E cos , il nostro protagonista fatica a metabolizzare questo abbandono, non riesce a tenere la testa su quello che fa, si lascia andare, sniffa, beve, tira tardi, combina casini sul lavoro, che infatti finir col perdere, sar licenziato.Come se non bastasse c che sua madre morta da un anno di cancro, e le cose fra loro hanno cominciato ad andare meglio solo poco prima che lei morisse.Il film del 1988, diretto da James Bridges, che ne ha fatti di migliori.Ma perch questo protagonista cos depresso da non avere neanche un nome si esprime con la seconda persona, si rivolge a se stesso Beh, un motivo direi che nella novit della cosa narrare attraverso il tu nel 1984 era pratica meno nota di ora qualcuno direbbe che forse era la prima volta che si faceva, ma ho dubbi in proposito In ogni caso, era un approccio letterario insolito Spiazzante.Nel caso di questo bel romanzo perfettamente giustificato secondo me, davvero giustificato, non certo solo un mero esercizio stilistico perch questo protagonista cos depresso da non avere neanche un nome per la maggior parte della storia come se fosse doppio, si guarda da fuori, nona pprova quello che fa, e solo nel finale, nel bel capitolo che chiude il libro, si riappacifica con se stesso inq uello che si pu definire una possibilit di happy ending.Perch se fino all ultimo capitolo il viaggio sembrato senza speranza, marchiato dal fallimento, adesso si comincia ad avvertire l inizio, o almeno il desiderio di una ribellione, si comincia a intuire una luce in fondo al tunnel.Magari solo questa il profumo del pane ti avvolge come una pioggerella leggera Inali profondamente, ti riempi i polmoni Ti vengono le lacrime agli occhi, e provi una tale sensazione di tenerezza e piet che sei costretto ad attaccarti a un lampione Il primo boccone ti si ferma in gola e ti fa quasi vomitare Dovrai cercare di andar piano Dovrai imparare tutto daccapo.Dianne Wiest la madre.Il tu un martello che colpisce rigo dopo rigo o meglio, visto che la coca cos centrale in questa storia, meglio usare il femminile riga , pagina dopo pagina incalza, spinge, scandisce secco e bruciante La prima luce del mattino disegna contro il cielo i grattacieli del World Trade Center sulla punta dell isola.Da noi Bright Lights, Big City arrivato nel 1986 pubblicato da Bompiani Prima di Meno di zero e Ballo di famiglia E qui da noi si cominci a parlare di minimalismo come mai prima Al punto da recuperare Carver, che da maestro di alcuni di questi, editorialmente parlando in Italia divent quasi un loro discepolo Ci fu anche Tama Janowitz, da noi notata meno, e per un attimo anche Susan Minot.In USA li definivano il literary brat pack, la banda di monelli una forma di parodia del rat pack di Sinatra, Dean MartinCo , per differenziarli dalla banda di monelli del cinema Sean Penn, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore eccetera.Qui da noi a me pare che solo Tondelli sapesse intercettare il tempo e l epoca con questo acutezza, profondit e qualit Senza essere datato sia i libri di Pier che questo esordio di Jay hanno conservato il loro valore letterario evitando di restare inchiodati al loro periodo storico di costume.PSDel film non vale la pena parlare, mediocre sotto qualsiasi punto di vista.Richard Estes Booths 1967

John Barrett McInerney Jr is an American writer His novels include Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, and The Last of the Savages He edited The Penguin Book of New American Voices, wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City, and co wrote the screenplay for the television film Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie He is the wine co

❄ Bright Lights, Big City kindle Epub ❦ Author Jay McInerney –
  • Paperback
  • 182 pages
  • Bright Lights, Big City
  • Jay McInerney
  • English
  • 22 March 2018

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