Bright, Precious Days
by Jay McInerney
Bloomsbury 416pp £18.99 “Is it possible to enjoy and despise a novel at the same time?” asked Alice O’Keeffe in the New Statesman. Jay McInerney’s new offering has all the hallmarks of a past-it author “trying to rehash elements from his greatest hit(s)”. It is the third fictional outing for the Manhattan “power couple” Russell and Corrine Calloway, who spend their time as they “move among the elite” at charity galas and pretentious restaurants, bemoaning how pinched their lives are. The plot is silly, the characters dislikeable – yet there’s no denying McInerney has an “eye for the ridiculous and an infectious sense of fun”.
There’s certainly an odd charm in the way he sends up “the glitzy world” he’s so “selfcongratulatory about inhabiting”, said Anthony Cummins in The Sunday Telegraph. Smug and absurd as it is, this is still a novel you “can’t help wolfing down”. No it isn’t, said Alex Preston in The Observer, it’s a lazy, clichéd book that “lurches from party to party like a gin-drunk socialite”. McInerney’s prose was once vigorous and “spiky”. Today he sounds like an “author who’d much rather be doing something else”.