Bright, Precious Days

There are many great chroniclers of New York City, but among the best must be ranked Jay McInerney, if for no other reason than his masterpiece, “Bright Lights, Big City,” published to instant acclaim when he was just 29. That novel, told in the second person, threw us full tilt into the world of ‘80s New York. It was moving, evocative, and thrilling. Wisely, McInerney is still writing about the city he knows best, and “Bright, Precious Days” touches on the themes that have animated him since the 1980s: money, failure, self-doubt, and the pursuit of happiness. The third in a trilogy that began 25 years ago, with “Brightness Falls,” his latest takes up the story of Russell and Corrine Calloway as they navigate mid-life in the wake of the 2008 financial crash. Not unlike McInerney’s own life, much of it revolves around book parties, art shows, restaurants, and weekends in the Hamptons, suffused with ennui and nostalgia that . More portrait than plot, “Bright, Precious Days” shows that McInerney is still the master of capturing that particular New York sense of falling and failing, all other evidence to the contrary. 

— Aaron Hicklin, One Grand Books