Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney – A Review


So, 2017 is well and truly underway. January has passed and Valentine’s Day is rolling up to poke it’s undulating red head of love in your direction. However, some of us are still recovering from the Christmas/ New Year’s Eve hangover that lasts longer as age increases. What better way to celebrate the pounding head and maelstrom stomach then a book that is one hangover interconnected by days? Bright Lights, Big City is just that book. The tale of a 24-year-old living in New York, consuming cocaine and looking for a lady to bed down with by night and performing terribly at his job by day. All the while obsessing over his wife and the ‘sexual abandonment’ she has forced upon him.

Bright Lights, Big City, is essential the disillusionment felt by many living in the city. How the city is precisely what is stated in the title; bright lights a big city and not a lot else. How all the clubs and drinks and drugs cannot stifle the eventual collapse of one’s soul. The Narrator has dreams of elevating himself to a level he knows he can achieve. Attempting to write a novel and join the ranks of the writer’s elite. Failing to acknowledge that the prose he articulates in his mind could be transcribed to paper to make a more than adequate novel.

The novel itself is incredibly short, clocking in at 174 pages making it possible to read through in one evening. This could instil a sense of apprehension in some as is a classic really a classic if it isn’t 896 pages long and contains enough characters to fill a medium sized village in Somerset? If you have any doubts then please put them aside to read Bright Lights, Big City. The novel is perfectly long to convey the intended message. If it was any lengthier then the sense of passing, the fleeting moment of living at the time, would become dissolved. The Narrators life quickly spirals out of control in the short time that we know him and if the book was longer how we could we truly appreciate that urgency?

I liked Bright Lights, Big City. It is without question a great novel. Full of wonderfully evocative language and executed in a manner that makes you truly appreciate the moment and what it must’ve been like. The best way to describe Bright Lights, Big City is that it’s like Bret Easton Ellis but focuses on a different world, a different class and culture of people. Very good, would recommend with two double vodkas and ice.



3 thoughts on “Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney – A Review

  1. inkbiotic says:

    I remember reading this years ago and loved it, your review has brought it back to me beautifully. It certainly caught the sensations and thinking of the time. I want to read it again now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nico Lee says:

    Hi there Ben, really enjoyed your review especially the amusing line,’ is a classic really a classic if it isn’t 896 pages long and contains enough characters to fill a medium sized village in Somerset?’ Full disclosure I have a short (220 pages) novel being published by a small publisher- Mega Dodo Press and am looking for reviewers who might appreciate some well written literature with a comic slant. I looked on the website and didn’t seem to be able to see a submissions policy but I thought I’d chance my arm. The blurb, my publisher has provided for the back cover is as follows…

    ‘Reckless, sardonic, and frequently hilarious Nico Lee’s ‘A Good Lie Ain’t Easy’, is a heart-warming tale about not staying true to yourself and all the joy that can bring to family and friends. Set on the road, somewhere between the cheap ache of nostalgia and the numb regret of last night, it charts the trajectory of four young drifters, as they attempt to remain as emotionally stunted as the great nation they’re erratically traversing, an English girl and three American brothers, set to wander, in a time so primitive that Grindr was just a really bitchin’ Death Metal band and irony was still something you could enjoy without having to be ironic about it.’

    I also have the first couple of pages up on facebook here if you’ve the time to actually judge the real flavour of the writing:

    And some other pieces here on my new website:

    I’d like to send you an advance copy for review if you’d be interested?
    Anyway, thanks for your time, and do let me know
    Yours Nico Lee

    Liked by 1 person

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