Sam van Zweden



jay mcinerney


I finished reading Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City.

It’s so… Just so. I was grabbed from the very first sentence. I like a good opening line, but I don’t remember ever being struck as hard as I was by this one:

You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.

I’m not? Oh.

The second-person point of view is pulled off with great success in this novel, and there are so many moments of genuine poetry. The prose is beautiful, and the resonance McInerney has created by moments that in any other novel would threaten to be disparate…

I can’t write a genuine review of this, there’s too much already floating around out there and I’m not sure I have much to add. Just to say that I loved it, and heartily recommend it to you.

The To-Be-Read Grab-Bag

I have a teeny tiny moleskine I use to write down all the book recommendations I receive and mean to follow up. I usually just write down the name and the author, very very rarely the reason it’s been recommended. With the amount of recommendations I receive, it’s pretty hard sometimes to remember why I’m chasing up a certain book.

Today I dipped into the To-Be-Read list for my next read, and picked up the copy of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City that I’ve had sitting here for a few weeks, intending to start.

I opened the book, and to my delight it’s written in second person! (Rare, and even more rarely well-done.)

The opening line:

“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning.”

Are you hooked already? I am. And I’m so delighted that I’d forgotten why it was recommended – such a fantastic surprise to start reading and discover such brilliant prose and an original focalization. Thanks, whoever recommended this one.

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