Familiar groove in the Big Apple
THE characters have a few more wrinkles around their eyes. They’re also thicker around the middle. For the most part, however, the song remains the same.
In his latest book, a collection of 12 stories, Jay McInerney continues to explore the themes that have obsessed him since his 1984 debut, Bright Lights, Big City . That novel, which famously details ’ 80s indulgence and greed in Manhattan, propelled McInerney into literary pages and gossip columns.
Since its publication, McInerney’s behaviour has competed for attention with his work. His career has suffered from well-publicised fast living, the very kind of lifestyle that seeps through the pages of The Last Bachelor .
McInerney’s New York makes Sex and the City look like a Disney cartoon. The glamour and sex are here, sure, but an unsavoury rawness runs through McInerney’s work to disturb the glittery surface.
He has always been at his best, as he is in several of the stories in The Last Bachelor , when he reveals the various wounds that inflicts on its inhabitants.
This concern has intensified since the terrorist attacks of September 11. McInerney’s previous book, The Good Life ( 2006), is an acute examination of the daily lives of New Yorkers in the wake of the attacks. McInerney reached a new level in his writing, and it remains one of the most moving examples of 9/ 11 fiction.
Several of the characters from that and other earlier novels return in The Last Bachelor, an uneven collection in which the effects of September 11 linger.
This is most notable in I Love You, Honey , in which McInerney writes about a married couple,