The Good Life by Jay McInerney - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

Brightness Revisited

The Good Life


Bloomsbury 354pp £17.99

Set in 1987 and published in 1992, Brightness Falls was Jay McInerney’s attempt to emulate Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities by pinning down 1980s Manhattan. It depicts editor Russell Calloway leading a coup at his publishing house with the backing of the financial mogul Bernie Melman; on the verge of success, he’s foiled by that year’s Wall Street crash, which causes Melman, a twentieth-century replica of Trollope’s Melmotte, to pull out.

In The Good Life, which opens in the fall of 2001, the Calloways reappear but the focus switches to Russell’s wife Corrinne, a childless stockbroker in 1987 who is now a dissatisfied, sex-starved, perpetually guilty mother of two working part-time. The sequel differs too in putting its shattering, vanity-exposing historical

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