Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Lights, Big City

by Jay McInerney


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394726410
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/28/1984
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 130,491
Product dimensions: 5.17(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Jay McInerney is the author of eight novels, a collection of short stories and three collections of essays on wine. He lives in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.

Table of Contents

It's Six A.M. Do You Know Where You Are?1
The Department of Factual Verification11
The Utility of Fiction36
A Womb With a View54
Les Jeux Sont Faits69
Coma Baby Lives!80
Pygmies, Ferrets and Dog Chow99
O Couture!119
Linguine and Sympathy128
Sometimes a Vague Notion145
The Night Shift160
How It's Going170

What People are Saying About This

Tobias Wolff

In its depiction of youth striving mightily to amuse itself, in the exuberance of its language and the antic shamelessness of its tale, Jay MacInerney's novel calls to mind such classics of knight-errantry as The Ginger Man and The Bushwacked Piano. It's a dazzling debut, smart, heartfelt, and very, very funny.

Barry Hannah

Jay MacInerney's voice is a lot of us, whether young New Yorkers or not -- coolly accurate but sobbing inside a little. Bright Lights, Big City makes eerie beauty out of that old-dog truth.

Cullen Plintton

The author is one of those rare writers who catches the mood, nuances, and manners of a subculture with humor, finesse, skill, and accuracy. A born stylist and a remarkable discovery!

Customer Reviews

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Bright Lights, Big City 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
BRIGHT LIGHTS was one of the first ¿New York¿ books I ever read. It wasn¿t the last. It has been said that those flames that burn the brightest fade the most quickly. It has also been argued that an extension of this maxim to literature provides a quick dismissal of all topical, works of and in a moment. Bright Lights, Big City serves as an eloquent riposte to this critique of topicality though it is very much a book about a moment within a subculture within a place (and it rejoices in its rootedness), more importantly it is about a person, and the details which seem to date it provide no more a detriment to its universality than those that Fitzgerald reveled in. Likened to McCrae's 'KATZENJAMMER' this book is a ¿bright¿ spot in the literary firmament.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is unified, with form matching the content, in ways that most are not. The 2nd-person point-of-view is brilliant, since the narrator feels outside of himself, made distant not because of drugs, not really, not initially, but because of loss and denial. Too often people dismiss McInerney's choice of 2nd as gimmicky and impertinent, like the Coma Baby riff, but the Coma Baby riff isn't gimmicky and impertinent either, since it helps the reader solve the mystery of why the self-destructive narrator is doing cocaine and running from his brother in the first place (and foreshadows his own rebirth). Bright Lights, Big City is a fun, easy read, but it's a smart read, too. Very clever and, at the end, very touching.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel falls just short of the American classics Huck Finn, Sun Also Rises, Gatsby, Holden Caufield, True Grit. MacInerney captured being young in New York in the 80's which means he captured being young and confused for all times. The smell of bread in the beginning brings you to the smell of bread at the end. The people and situations are as true to the rules of reality as fiction can be. And the walk that you and Tad's cousin take through the Village is most fetching indeed. The bricks and wooden Dutch shoes at the end of the book point beautifully to the Dutch sailor's eyes that first contemplated this continent at the end of Gatsby. The only problem I have with the book is it's a little too New Yorker, polished fiction--he never let loose the reins. There's many ways to be wicked but you don't know one little thing about love.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Recently I tried a book given to me by a friend that didn't click for me. My friend said, I guess this was your Bright Lights, Big City--a book I recommended to her. Humor is a funny, very individual thing, and this is one of my favorite books, while my friend hated it and abandoned it mid-read. It might help that I'm a native New Yorker. I admit I got a kick at seeing my city through the narrator's eyes and recognizing such things as the manic energy, the emptiness of the club scene, the insanity you find on the streets, buses and subways, and above all the city treasure, the New York Post headline, that was at it's absurdest best in the early 80s when this book was published.And mind you, my friend actually likes books in second person. That very likely is why you've heard of the book, and why you might be curious to try it. The entire short novel is written in the very rare second person, present tense point of view. That might seem like a stunt, a gimmick, and I admit that is what made me curious. But one of the tests of an outre technique like that is do you notice it for the entire book, or does it disappear after a while? For me, very quickly, I got used to it and didn't notice it--not consciously. But I do think second person gives a certain tone to the book. That very friend who didn't like this book actually likes the use of second person--she feels it's very good in its distancing at conveying damage, and the narrator is exactly that--damaged. For my friend as I recall, too damaged. One of the scenes I found funniest in the book with a certain ferret was her breaking point. Does this yuppie cokehead ever wise up she asked me? Sorta. What does happen is that 157 pages into the book we learn the source of his damage, and it was enough for me at least to feel for him and forgive him. As for change--well, there's that subtle hint--and I loved it for its subtlety--in the very last line.
amlet on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was suprised by the story's depth, and the author was successful in making me feel as worn out as the main character. Overall, however, it just felt a bit generic, perhaps because the character's battle is mostly a private matter and the results of his choices don't seem especially consequential.
Darrol on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Like Less Than Zero, fair amount of drug taking, but more humor. And stuff actually happens. The events at the magazine are funny, and the vandalizing of the supervisor's office (with the ferret) was fun. The second person delivery is annoying, and the ending is a bit sappy.
stunik on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Amusing because it is written in second person.Drug days of the 1980's
jay786 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I love Jay I think he's an awesome writer and definitely a gifted talented guy but I enjoyed SLIDE by SAIRA VIOLA even more !
abirdman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Young urban sophisticates in the age of disco and cocaine, and before AIDS. A not unpleasant portrait of an age.
tedmahsun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young man finds his life slowly spiralling into the depths of chaos of cocaine and depression. His wife has left him. He is close to being fired from his job at a reputable New York magazine. A good read; honest and simple; use of 2nd-person voice suits story very well.
Humbert_Humbert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you took "Less Than Zero" and transferred it to the east coast, you would end up with "Bright Lights, Big City". Although it's another story of a man trying to find himself in this world I couldn't help but love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LoLong More than 1 year ago
The story was interesting and very intriguing; the life of the main character made me feel uncomfortable, in a good way. I wish that the story has been a little longer and dove deeper in to the character's realization of himself in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Last year you started a police dog rp right? Well i dont know if you remember but i was Pharaoh,you dog. I think i was a german sheperd or something. Just saying hey and all that.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My bio is at may lee seventh result if you wanna know what I look like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Alrighty! Sounds fun! I took acting classes in high school. What am I supposed to do?" ~Nikki
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me t
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in ( post)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lands in the park looking for fish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She held out a dog biscuit~Gemma