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Bright Lights, Big City | [Jay McInerney]

Bright Lights, Big City

The tragicomedy of a young man in New York City, a writer, never named, who works as a fact-checker for a prestigious magazine. He struggles with the reality of his mother's death, alienation, and the seductive pull of drugs and a vibrant nightlife.
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Publisher's Summary

The tragicomedy of a young man in New York City, a writer, never named, who works as a fact-checker for a prestigious magazine. He struggles with the reality of his mother's death, alienation, and the seductive pull of drugs and a vibrant nightlife.

©1984 Jay McInerney; ©2009 Random House

What the Critics Say

"A sidelong look at life in the Big Apple, as experienced by youth that once had hope and aspirations. In spite of the depths to which the main characters descend, the exuberance and humour of the narrative maintains its wonderful disregard for conventional behaviour with great buoyancy. An entertaining read, but it is the resignation and frustration that lingers in the mind that makes this novel so compelling." (Kirkus)
"A rambunctious, deadly funny novel that goes right for the mark - the human heart." (Raymond Carver)
"The author is one of those reare writers who catches the moods, nuances and manners of a sub-culture with humor, finesse, skill and accuracy. A born stylist and remarkable discovery!" (George Plimpton)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (58 )
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4.0 (42 )
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4.2 (41 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bob Portland, OR, United States 08-18-10
    Bob Portland, OR, United States 08-18-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a great period piece for NYC of the early 90's"

    I thought I was just going to be annoyed with this story but McInerney's self obsessed, obliviously addicted character grows on you as he struggles with his talents and being his own worst enemy. I kind of live vicariously through characters like this since I've never lived in NY. You kind of want to slap him around and say hey cant you see how great you have it but that's the beauty and the device of the story. Just be warned- it's about living in NYC in the early days of Friends and Seinfeld without all the annoying friends and success.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber Fort Collins, CO, United States 01-07-12
    Amber Fort Collins, CO, United States 01-07-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    204
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    "Curiously, mundanely real"

    Just about everyone who has never lived in New York likes to imagine what it might be like. I found the book just the right balance of obscure and mundane to be believable. It's easy to imagine a person such as the main character existing in NY in the 80s.

    Don't let my title mislead though, this book isn't boring. It's just got the right amount of day to day normality to make it believable.

    When the book finished I initially thought "What? Where's the ending?". But after more thought about what the book was trying to achieve, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's not a big morality tale, as I started to expect it would be. I was disappointed with some of the character's actions, in just the way I am sometimes disappointed with my actions or those of friends. But that's what makes this book endearing. It's as just life from the eyes of just another person.

    The more I think about this book the more I'm glad I read it.

    Final note though: At 5ish hours it's a fantastic quick read. Easy to follow, easy to visualise. I bought this on sale, and am glad I did.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Watertown, MA, United States 04-11-12
    William Watertown, MA, United States 04-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Book, not for everyone"
    If you could sum up Bright Lights, Big City in three words, what would they be?

    Provocative, bratty, brilliant.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This story follows a broken man who refuses to acknowledge he is broken. It is written in such a way that the reader also refuses to acknowledge this brokenness. This story is also written in second person which is interesting and atypical.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I didn't, but it was short enough that I could. It was very drawing.


    Any additional comments?

    Great for those who liked anything by Bret Easton Ellis or Catcher in the Rye.
    Some may become uncomfortable with the story line, the frequent use of drugs, and the treatment of women.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bayswater, Australia 01-06-12
    Michael Bayswater, Australia 01-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    2
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    "I felt that sense of loss when it ended."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, beacuse of the period, the city, the partys, the laughs and Amanda.


    What other book might you compare Bright Lights, Big City to and why?

    The Hotest State.


    What does Daniel Passer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Did notice him as I was listening, which is good.


    If you could rename Bright Lights, Big City, what would you call it?

    Factual Verification


    Any additional comments?

    Even though my life didn't parallel the main characters, i could really understand him.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    william Juneau, AK, United States 02-09-13
    william Juneau, AK, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2012
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    38
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    "awesome"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bright Lights, Big City to be better than the print version?

    loved the book. The symbolism, the story, and the view of contemporary society. I really enjoyed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results
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  • Nakul
    United Kingdom
    3/28/13
    Overall
    "Smooth read"

    The book's a bit dated now, but I was surprised that it held up as well as it did. I listened to it on my first trip to New York, as I walked around the upper east side. A special word of commendation for the reader – Passer has a lovely, youthful voice, with just the right mixture of irony, cynicism, and naiveté. He gets the tone of the novel exactly right, and gives it just the mixture of pathos and comedy it needs. A pleasure to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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