“Extremely entertaining. . . elegant, subtle, shapely and reflective. . . . Perfect specimens.” —The New York Times
“How It Ended reminds us how impressively broad McInerney’s scope has been and how confidently he has ranged across wide swaths of our national experience.... He possesses the literary naturalist’s full tool kit: empathy and curiosity, a peeled eye and a well-tuned ear, a talent for building narratives at once intimate and expansive, plausible and inventive.” —Sam Tanenhaus, The New York Times Book Review, front page
“A master of short fiction…. The characters [McInerney] crafts are so strong, the reader continues to care about them after the last page is turned.” —The Miami Herald
“Brim[s] with all the attendant guilt and thrills and self-defeating impulses of an extramarital tryst…. Brilliant.” —The Boston Globe
“Fresh and smart…. Without losing his early jokey way with language or his ironic wit, [McInerney] finds new depths of understanding.” —The Oregonian
“McInerney's star burns as bright as ever.” —Vanity Fair
“Immediately enveloping…. This collection highlights a powerful contemporary American writer.” —The Plain Dealer
“Alongside old hits . . . [How It Ended includes] an impressive selection of new work that touches upon his usual themes: money, marriage, and the social jostling involved in both. . . . McInerney’s characters are engaging because they are continually falling into a trap that even their wealth cannot protect them from: They cannot tell the difference between living fully, and living without limits.” —The Dallas Morning News
“As this new collection stylishly demonstrates, McInerney writes with elegance and wit. . . . Surprising and affecting.” —Houston Chronicle
“[McInerney’s] stories are so immediately enveloping and powerful that we don’t notice how few words he uses to conjure his rich, complicated characters. . . . How It Ended is more than a victory lap for McInerney.” —The Plain Dealer
“Superb examples of the form.” —Slate
“Jay McInerney’s collection displays his growth as a writer. . . . Heavy on sexual betrayal and social climbing.” —USA Today
“[McInerney] is so much fun to read, especially in short story form.” —The Detroit News
“They are hyped and hungover, rueful party animals and sapped social climbers, wayward spouses and strangers in the night. . . . Characters in Jay McInerney’s How It Ended are fresh, fraught personalities.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“A century from now, cultural historians will plumb the works of Jay McInerney to discern what life was like in the two decades between the explosion of Wall Street wealth and the grim aftermath of 9/11. His keen-eyed depiction of that period is generously displayed in How it Ended. . . . Perceptive and real.” —BookPage
“Sure crowd-pleasers.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Sharp and precisely observed. . . . What’s impressive is just how good—sometimes extraordinarily so—McInerney has been. . . . Precision is precisely what separates the short story from the novel. It’s the art of letting the detail stand in for the whole, and this is where many of the stories in How It Ended make the cut as fine examples of their form.” —The Toronto Star
How It Ended reminds us how impressively broad McInerney's scope has been and how confidently he has ranged across wide swaths of our national experience. It reminds us too that for all the many literary influences he has absorbed, McInerney's contributionand it is a major oneis to have revitalized the Irish Catholic expiatory tradition of F. Scott Fitzgerald and John O'Hara, with its emphasis not only on guilt but also on shame: on sins committed and never quite expunged, always in open view of the sorrowing punitive clan…[McInerney] possesses the literary naturalist's full tool kit: empathy and curiosity, a peeled eye and a well-tuned ear, a talent for building narratives at once intimate and expansive, plausible and inventive.
The New York Times Book Review
Mr. McInerney was a callow, facile and extremely entertaining writer from the very first. He had a smart student's command of technical virtues and an eagerness to show them off. He also had such a tiresome infatuation with 1980s-style decadence that it lingers sentimentally even now. But his stories have grown more elegant, subtle, shapely and reflective over time, to the point where some of the recent works are perfect specimens. He has quietly achieved the literary stature to which he once so noisily laid claim.
The New York Times
These 26 stories-some new, some previously published-go back as many years and take readers to a time when the stock market was bullish and a young writer made his name with an ingeniously packaged first novel that perfectly captured a brief moment in time. In this collection, we become reacquainted with the nameless night-crawling narrator of Bright Lights, Big City; with Alison Poole, the party girl of Story of My Life(and who McInerney has said was based on John Edwards's former mistress Rielle Hunter); and Collin McNab, a would-be screenwriter who enjoys a tortuous relationship with his model girlfriend. We also meet new characters, among them a novice screenwriter who learns to play the Hollywood game a little too well, a woman who contemplates sleeping with an old flame on the eve of his wedding, and, in the title story, a drug dealer whose good luck streak repulses the lawyer to whom he confides his tale. While nobody can channel urban strivers and their shallow pursuits as well as McInerney, after a while, the stories all tend to blur together with a depressing predictability. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
If the stories in this new collection from McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City) have a common ground, it's cocaine and parties. Some of these stories are about characters at opposite ends of the universe. Others feel like Noah Baumbach films, concerned with selfish, chemically imbalanced rich families, making it nearly impossible to identify with them despite what are supposed to be universal problems. The writing here is clearly good and the narration calm, understated, and nicely controlled-a trait McInerney probably picked up while studying under Raymond Carver, though these stories don't feel necessary, as Carver's do. In fact, these bite-sized stories are so smooth, each encapsulating a snippet of its characters' lives, that they can be read in just a few minutes. Some do get to universal truths on heartbreaking relationships, but only in the last few lines; mostly, they're like sitcoms. Not recommended, though libraries where McInerney is popular should consider. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/08.]
From McInerney (The Good Life, 2006, etc.), a collection of 26 stories spanning some three decades. The stories fall into two general categories. Many of the earliest ones provided the seeds for novels, and they remind us how fresh the young writer's voice seemed when he made his breakthrough with Bright Lights, Big City (1984). Other stories similarly introduce the characters, voice and themes that would be extended in novels such as Story of My Life (1988), Brightness Falls (1992) and Model Behavior (1998). Comparatively disappointing are the later stories, many of them written since his 2000 story collection published in England (also titled How It Ended). Some of the same obsessions remain-glamour, drugs, nightlife, the endless redundancy of parties-yet the freshness of tone has curdled into cliche. It's hard to determine whether the author is writing about protagonists who are pretentiously shallow, adulterous, often aspiring writers who have fallen short of their potential, or whether such protagonists are merely stand-ins for the writer. It's also hard to write about these stories without giving the endings away, but too many of them rely on twists that O. Henry might have rejected as ironically glib, resolutions that are just too pat in their climactic revelations. Then there's the sledgehammer imagery: A dog's invisible fence serves as a metaphor for a couple's sexual transgressions, a potbellied pig in the conjugal bed provides commentary on a husband's proclivities. And so on. The wit and the engaging voice in the best of these stories aren't enough to offset the impression that neither the third nor the second acts of the novelist's career have fulfilled the promise or equaledthe accomplishment of the first. First printing of 40,000. Author tour to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle