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Combining the lyrical observation of F. Scott Fitzgerald with the laser-bright social satire of Evelyn Waugh, Jay McInerney gives us a novel that is stunningly accomplished and profoundly affecting.
As he maps the fault lines spreading through the once-impenetrable marriage of Russell and Corrine Calloway and chronicles Russell's wildly ambitious scheme to seize control of the publishing house at which he works, Jay McInerney creates an elegy for New York in the 1980s. From the literary chimeras and corporate raiders to those dispossessed by the pandemonium of money and power, Brightness Falls captures a rash era at its moment of reckoning and gives reality back to a time that now seems decidedly unreal.
my cholesterol twenty points. You send away to this company in Connecticut.” “You should talk to Jeff,” Russell muttered. “He has a keen interest in pharmacology.” “What does your wife say about the market,” Victor asked later, upon the arrival of his cuttlefish risotto—a dish associative, he suggested, of Ionic poets and scribes: white rice stained in a broth of black ink. Victor had his own broker, but he second-guessed him as he second-guessed the weatherman and the conventional wisdom, as
this business. Three years ago I was crunching numbers for Manny Hanny. Then I helped put together a finance package for United Artists. Two years ago I get a stupid idea for a movie, come out and set up my own production company. Now I get all my phone calls returned yesterday, I’ve got more money than I know what to do with, and I’m fucking a different actress every night of the week. God, I love this country.” “Why share the booty with me?” “Say I’m feeling generous. I need some help here,
“That must be Ace,” Corrine said. “Just ask him to leave it with you, Roger. Tell him we changed our minds about the repair.” Then she realized she hadn’t paid him and asked the doorman to give him a twenty and not to mention anything to Russell. What’s-her-name, Jeff’s date, breasts in tow, emerged from the bathroom, a trifle sheepish, and a moment later so did Washington. Uh-oh. Guilty of something. Elsa, who watched as Russell cleared up the broken glass, said, “Where’s David?” then began
himself an NFL team, an airplane for the patron named chairman of an airline. Melman pointed out his own trophies, including a pennant inscribed with the name of his fashion empire and a plastic butcher knife signifying his capture of a meat-packing concern. “If we go ahead with this thing we’ll hang a book from the rafters, put your name on the cover,” Melman suggested. He then identified for Russell a couple of other corporate chieftains with inferior table positions. “All along the front wall
who came to all of the readings and contributed generously to the support of poetry magazines and experimental theaters; gaunt twenty-two-year-olds who worked at bookstores and publishing houses and ad agencies when not laboring on their first novels. Harold Stone was here—with one of the young literature students—as were the chiefs of half a dozen publishing houses and magazines. The press was present to verify the reality of the occasion. Juan Baptiste, happily settled into his uptown gossip