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Publisher's Summary

The tragicomedy of a young man in New York City, a writer, never named, who works as a fact-checker for a prestigious magazine. He struggles with the reality of his mother's death, alienation, and the seductive pull of drugs and a vibrant nightlife.
©2009 Random House; 1984 Jay McInerney
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Critic Reviews

"A sidelong look at life in the Big Apple, as experienced by youth that once had hope and aspirations. In spite of the depths to which the main characters descend, the exuberance and humour of the narrative maintains its wonderful disregard for conventional behaviour with great buoyancy. An entertaining read, but it is the resignation and frustration that lingers in the mind that makes this novel so compelling." ( Kirkus)
"A rambunctious, deadly funny novel that goes right for the mark - the human heart." (Raymond Carver)
"The author is one of those reare writers who catches the moods, nuances and manners of a sub-culture with humor, finesse, skill and accuracy. A born stylist and remarkable discovery!" (George Plimpton)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Amber on 01-07-12

Curiously, mundanely real

Just about everyone who has never lived in New York likes to imagine what it might be like. I found the book just the right balance of obscure and mundane to be believable. It's easy to imagine a person such as the main character existing in NY in the 80s.

Don't let my title mislead though, this book isn't boring. It's just got the right amount of day to day normality to make it believable.

When the book finished I initially thought "What? Where's the ending?". But after more thought about what the book was trying to achieve, I'm pretty satisfied with it. It's not a big morality tale, as I started to expect it would be. I was disappointed with some of the character's actions, in just the way I am sometimes disappointed with my actions or those of friends. But that's what makes this book endearing. It's as just life from the eyes of just another person.

The more I think about this book the more I'm glad I read it.

Final note though: At 5ish hours it's a fantastic quick read. Easy to follow, easy to visualise. I bought this on sale, and am glad I did.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By William on 04-11-12

Great Book, not for everyone

If you could sum up Bright Lights, Big City in three words, what would they be?

Provocative, bratty, brilliant.

What did you like best about this story?

This story follows a broken man who refuses to acknowledge he is broken. It is written in such a way that the reader also refuses to acknowledge this brokenness. This story is also written in second person which is interesting and atypical.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I didn't, but it was short enough that I could. It was very drawing.

Any additional comments?

Great for those who liked anything by Bret Easton Ellis or Catcher in the Rye.
Some may become uncomfortable with the story line, the frequent use of drugs, and the treatment of women.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Nakul on 03-28-13

Smooth read

The book's a bit dated now, but I was surprised that it held up as well as it did. I listened to it on my first trip to New York, as I walked around the upper east side. A special word of commendation for the reader – Passer has a lovely, youthful voice, with just the right mixture of irony, cynicism, and naiveté. He gets the tone of the novel exactly right, and gives it just the mixture of pathos and comedy it needs. A pleasure to listen to.

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