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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bright Lights, Big City

I may be on an '80's kick right now.  Between Bret Easton Ellis and a not-so-long-ago viewing of Brat Pack films, I am immersed in the overindulgent culture of the 1980's all over again.  Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney is no exception.

Focusing on the decadence afforded to even those who were broke in New York City in this time period, McInerney's narrative focuses on our faceless and nameless main man who is reeling from his wife's abandonment of their marriage and his hated and thankless job as a fact checker for an unnamed highbrow and important magazine publication.  He rails through the night, hyped on anything he can get his hands on, then falls in late to work until he is finally fired.  Slowly McInerney reveals a deeper reasoning for his actions and humanizes him toward the end of this short novel.

This novel was short and a fairly easy read.  It didn't take too much out of me emotionally but I still felt myself needing to find out why the main character was such a messed up human being.  Beyond the wife leaving him, that is.  I got my answer in the final few pages of the book, and I felt it was satisfying enough.  I appreciated McInerny holding that out until the end; I felt it really gave the book a perspective that kept me intrigued about from the beginning.  I realize I am about 27 years behind on this book, but I am glad that I added it to my collection of knowledge regarding that fascinating decade of (what else?) decadence. 

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