The Good Life : Brightness Falls

  • by Jay McInerney
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • Series: Brightness Falls
  • 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Clinging to a semiprecarious existence in TriBeCa, Corrine and Russell Calloway have survived a separation and are thoroughly wonderstruck by young twins whose provenance is nothing less than miraculous, even as they contend with the faded promise of a marriage tinged with suspicion and deceit. Meanwhile, several miles uptown and perched near the top of the Upper East Side's social register, Luke McGavock has postponed his accumulation of wealth in an attempt to recover the sense of purpose now lacking in a life that often gives him pause, especially with regard to his teenage daughter, whose wanton extravagance bears a horrifying resemblance to her mother's. But on a September morning, brightness falls horribly from the sky, and people worlds apart suddenly find themselves working side by side at the devastated site, feeling lost anywhere else, yet battered still by memory and regret, by fresh disappointment and unimaginable shock. What happens, or should happen, when life stops us in our tracks, or our own choices do? What if both secrets and secret needs, long guarded steadfastly, are finally revealed? What is the good life?Posed with astonishing understanding and compassion, these questions power a novel rich with characters and events, both comic and harrowing, revelatory about not only New York after the attacks but also the toll taken on those lucky enough to have survived them. Wise, surprising, and, ultimately, heart-stoppingly redemptive, The Good Life captures lives that allow us to see, through personal, social, and moral complexity, more clearly into the heart of things.


What the Critics Say

"There have been a number of 9/11 novels lately, as writers grapple with what that terrible day means to us. This one is essential." (Booklist)
"This story is a simple one, but McInerney delivers it with grace and wit. He does what a good novelist should: He takes an abstract idea and gives it life." (Publishers Weekly)
"The Good Life is McInerney’s most fully imagined novel as it is his most ambitious and elegiac.” (The New York Review of Books)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Bridges of Why Am I Reading This Crap

So, I’ve got this little disorder. Just this one: Once I begin reading a book, I am compelled to finish it. Regardless of how much I dislike it, I continue to pick up the book… continue to read.

After finishing Brett Easton Ellis’ excellent Lunar Park, I wanted to read something by Jay Mcinerny. Jay is a character in Lunar Park and is best known for his breakthrough novel Bright Lights, Big City. Not sure what posessed me, but rather than going for the easy bet and reading BL, BC, I made the error of picking out The Good Life, Jay’s latest.


The Good Life reads like Bridges of Madison County for the middle-aged urbanite. Set in NY, NY around the time of 9/11, the novel tells the story of a couple of priveledged New Yorkers too lazy to work at their own marriages that fall easily into illicit love amongst the Ground Zero soup kitchens. If "illicit love" makes you think "Harlequin Romance", then you’ve got the right idea: there’s enough trashy bodice-ripping in there to satisfy the requirements of the genre.

There’s also a large helping of grief porn if you’re into that sort of thing. The jumpers, the flee-ers, the diggers and the body bags… Jay’s got it covered.

Learn from my mistake. Read Bright Lights, Big City. It really is as good as you’ve heard.
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- Scott

A disappointment

The first half showed great promise. The second half was like a harlequin romance. I only kept listening because I thought for sure it would get back on track. It didn't.
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- L. Fadden

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2006
  • Publisher: Books on Tape