Jay McInerney revives from 6-year break with a taste of The Good Life

Continuing his fictional documentation of New York with his latest novel, The Good Life, a true New Yorker and author of the cultural phenomenon Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney captivated audiences once again at a recent reading at Books and Books in downtown Coral Gables.

The Good Life serves as one of the nation’s first fictional novels to deal with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The novel begins a few days prior to that date but concentrates on the following three months. Set in New York, The Good Life shows the fragility of love and the effects it has on individuals, concentrating on two socialite couples who, like everyone else, are forced to re-examine their lives post-9/11.

“After the events of 9/11, everyone feels like they’ve lost their innocence. [The characters] are clinging precariously to existence in Manhattan,” McInerney said. “It is a book about love, fidelity and infidelity.”

Two of the characters, Russell and Corrine, appeared first in his fourth (and personal favorite) novel, Brightness Falls. A stay-at-home screenwriter/hopeful mother, Corrine is the novel’s central character, who finds herself seemingly stuck in her marriage to her long-time sweetheart Russell. While volunteering at a soup kitchen after Sept. 11, Corrine rediscovers love with Luke, a fellow disheartened spouse, and tries once again to find meaning in her life.

“Corrine was the center of the story. I love writing from a woman’s point of view: I’m a literary drag queen,” McInerney said. “I’ve been married three times so I have a lot of experience.”

McInerney describes himself as a writer of New York. Throughout his eight novels, New York City is a recurring setting, and after the attacks, McInerney wasn’t sure how, or even if, he could approach the matter in his writings.

“I hated writing this book,” McInerney said. “I was working on another novel, then 9/11 happened and the thought of writing fiction seemed frivolous and irrelevant. Eventually I felt that maybe it was up to the novelist to shape the emotions and mythologize it for us to tell future generations about what happened; we have to write about this, it is a duty.”

McInerney is often compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald for his similar early success and its ensuing expectations. However, after a six-year break after his last novel, the early success of The Good Life and a new novel in the works, McInerney feels as if he has entered the second phase of his career, one which Fitzgerald was not able to make it to.

“I have finally remembered how to write again,” McInerney said.

Bari Lieberman can be contacted at b.lieberman@umiami.edu.

February 17, 2006


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.