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Brightness Falls

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,747 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Brightness Falls is the story of Russell and Corrine Calloway. Set against the world of New York publishing, McInerney provides a stunningly accomplished portrayal of people contending with early success, then getting lost in the middle of their lives.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 31st 1993 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1992)
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12th out of 39 books — 16 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,899)
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David Lentz
Brightness Falls is a great American novel, which owes a great deal to F. Scott Fitzgerald and his Gatsby. At times, it seems as if McInerney wants to re-tell the Gatsby tale on Wall Street during the Crash of '87. McInerney's Nick Carraway is, after all, Crash Galloway. However, the meaning of this novel transcends this decade and its hideous "greed is good" mantra: it's not simply a "period piece." The story is about the mad pursuit of wealth, the shallowness of the great Faustian trade and th ...more
Cmamer
Have you ever attended a long cocktail party at an elegant hotel with crowds of well dressed people chattering while a piano player provides background music and after the ball is over find yourself at home with the vague impression that you have not actually been anywhere? If so, you have a good idea of what this book is about.

Jay McInerney enjoyed some acclaim for "Bright Lights, Big City," but this effort is eminently forgettable. It is well written, mildly humorous at times but ultimately in
...more
christa
this reminded me of how "the beautiful and damned" is technically better than "the great gatsby" but not as well-known. this is better than "bright lights, big city."
J.
Found this in the laundry room.
I don't want any giddy expectations to get in the way of an eventual critical response, but in the early going, it's already showing signs ...: this one looks like it might have "dumpster" written all over it ...
Meryl
From the doldrums of his rehab facility, Jeff Pierce, the party boy novelist reflects "begin with an individual and you'll find you've got nothing but ambiguity and compassion; if you intend violence, stick with type." He is referring to his best friends, Corrine and Russell, the perfect power couple, or so it seems. Thirty-one and together since college, they are the stabilizing force for their group of friends who are still navigating the Bacchanalian frontier that is New York of 1987.

McInerne
...more
A.J.
Brightness Falls -- what an appropriate title. How could McInerney have gone from Bright Lights, a narrative tour de force, to this sprawling, turgid mess? Occasional sharp turns of phrase remind us of what he can do, but they're lost among excruciating passages of (sometimes repetitive) exposition and a narrative voice that's often too distant and disengaged. That distance comes from ambition: McInerney has set up too many threads and doesn't have space to tie them all together convincingly.

Som
...more
Parvathy
A passage to adulthood tale set in '80s New York. Loved the writing - clever and pretty. My review here: http://happysmalltalk.blogspot.in/201...
Jack
Apr 12, 2008 Jack rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jack by: Matt Tanner
Possibly my favorite book from the entire literary brat pack canon, this book goes beyond New England undergrads in orgies of blow and manages to fully explore the relationship of a Manhattan power couple. The novel opens on a storybook marriage between Corrine and Russell with Russell on the cusp of becoming head editor of a large publishing house, replete with coke fueled parties filled with models and the life of the jet set. Everything crashes down at once: the stock market crashes, Russell ...more
Brendan
Holy shit this book was good. I decided recently that because it is possible to read all of McInerney's fiction in a month that one should do so. This whole book really rocked. I like the characters and the arc. I've said this before but a few years ago McInerney seemed dated, but now it's more like his eighties books are a perfect time capsule of a forgotten era that came on the heels of a depressed, near bankrupt 70s. I turned the last page and immediately went on to read his next and then ord ...more
Marcia Chocinsky
I really enjoyed this novel, firmly set in the crazy go-go times of the 80' s in the epicenter of all epicenters - NYC. Mcinerney knows how to turn a phrase and does so ad infinitum, capturing his characters moods, the city itself and the decades excesses. I love his writing, although I read "The Good Life" first and I liked that book better than this one. Sometimes I think you like the first you read the best (where part of a series or not) even though the writing, etc., may be equal. Maybe I c ...more
Edijkelly Salvatore
Though the story may be dated, mired as it is in the M&A craze of the late '80s, this is one of the few books I've desired to go back to and re-read. I remember getting to a critical part on an airplane and not realizing I was sobbing until the elderly lady next to me offered a tissue. Truly a moving story about characters you hate, but still care about.
Procyon Lotor
In rete trovate numerose vecchie recensioni acute e pregnanti dove viene esaltato soppesato ponderato o demolito il libro... nella maggior parte di esse la protagonista viene chiamata Corinne. (lui � Russell ma � meno delineato e pi� stereotipato non a caso JMcI stesso riutilizzer� entrambi ma appoggiandosi ancora di pi� a lei) Purtroppo devo dar loro una ferale notizia: si chiamava Corrine. Differenza ortografica non rara negli USA dove Marlynn Marlene Marylynn Marleen Marlyn Marlene e altre va ...more
Sheu
Took me awhile but I finally finished reading the book. It was a bit slow-moving in the beginning but it eventually started picking up pace. If anyone wanted to know what the American life and culture were all about, they could just read the book. Because that's what the book was basically all about. From the start to the end.

The lives of a young stockbroker married to an underpaid but ambitious publishing editor already said it all. Being a stockbroker in New York's Wall Street is a stressful j
...more
Colleen
I could read this book a hundred times. I may already have; I don't know why, maybe child of the 80s mentality. I just love it.
Cherie
A+ Fantastic story of two couples and their love, affairs, and complications in NYC--the kind of book that takes you over
Nanou
Dans les années 80, à Manhattan, Russel et Corinne forme un couple modèle, envié par tous leurs amis. Lui est éditeur chez Corbin, Dern & Cie, elle est courtière en bourse et est bénévole dans une association d’aide aux démunis. Ils ont trente ans, ils s’aiment et ont l’avenir devant eux, ils s’amusent dans toutes les fêtes où il faut être vu, écument les vernissages et les cocktails. Pourtant, chacun commence à ressentir une insatisfaction, un manque dans sa vie. Russel s’ennuie dans son ac ...more
John Nelson
Jay McInerney's first novel - Bright Lights, Big City - was a stunning literary debut. The book was vividly written, extremely funny, possessed of a big heart, and notable for its use of the second person present tense, which was unusual prior to that time. It seemed that most aspiring writers in the mid-1980s wanted to be the next Jay McInerney, and for good reason.

Brightness Falls followed eight years later, in 1992. The story is set in 1987, bracketing the one-day stock market crash that occu
...more
Josh Ang
Jay McInerney's novel is one of those works which has a setting so firmly set in the eighties you can almost feel shoulder pads growing on your shoulders as you enter the lives of 30ish power yuppie couple, Russell and Corinne Calloway. Although it was published in the early nineties, the story takes place in 1987. There is a kind of retro-chic vibe to reading about Wall Street in Lower Manhattan right before its dramatic crash that same year, in tandem with the downward spiral of the Calloways, ...more
Myles
Going into this review I had this funny little idea about 1991-2 being a year of growing up for the literary brat pack (a marketing and a journalistic invention that would be long forgotten if it weren't for the fact that we reviewers love it), I made a connection between McInerney, Ellis, Janowitz, Tartt, et al. and the rise and fall in fortunes of the teen pop stars of the late 90s in 2002-03: Timberlake, Aguilera and Spears redefined and ramped up their image while others failing to do so eff ...more
Julia B
New York during the late eighties : the city is blooming with traders, investors and financial animals of all sorts. Russell and Corinne are a successful couple, yet they crave for power. Especially Russell, who is a typical ruthlessly ambitious junior working at Corbin, Dern, a prestigious editor. Corinne, on her side, has became a broker almost without knowing it. Both of them are convinced of their good hearts, Russell because he works in culture (but is obsessed with money and social positio ...more
Andrew
" 'What is this music?' Corinne said. 'Sounds like something Jeff would like.'
'The Cure,' Russel answered.
'Cure for what?'
'That's the name of the band, Corinne.'
'How do you know that?'
'I just do.'
'Well, I don't.' It upset her when she discovered these discrepancies in their knowledge of the quotidian world, as if in going through his pockets she had come across tricornered napkin scraps inscribed with lipsticked numbers and cryptic notes. Married five years, dating on and off five before that .
...more
Richard
Flawed "Falls" Feels Flat

Brightness Falls feels like a novel it's author, Jay McInerney, considers his most mature work to date. Going out of his way to sound like a grown-up, his prose is all but indecipherable. Seemingly going on forever, his sentences consist of too many thirty-cent words, the likes of which a child might memorize right before taking his seat at the adults' table. I constantly had to go back and re-read entire paragraphs just to figure out what simple action or description h
...more
John
I read this book twice – something I rarely do. It’s a super sized, roller coaster- of-a- ride of a novel about that most American of themes – the loss of innocence (and the concomitant little accommodations and bargains made along the way) and the moment when all the touchstones and precepts that have guided life come crashing (actually the nickname of the main character) down. McInerney’s visceral, witty style - full of snappy metaphors and clever puns - keeps this narrative humming and buzzin ...more
Leora Bersohn
In college, this seemed like such a great book. 17 years later, I've had to reevaluate and remove a star. Still addictively readable, this panoramic social novel about New York in the 1980s, particularly the realms of art and finance, culminates in Black Monday and the peak of the AIDS crisis. In the intervening years, I've read Trollope, Thackeray, and their friends, so I'm not quite as impressed. I've also worked in book publishing and financial services so can see that McInerney got a lot of ...more
Barbara
Ogni tanto, quando finisco le scorte di libri, nell'attesa di nuovi rifornimenti frugo nelle seconde file della libreria rileggendo quello che vi ho esiliato per vari motivi.
Raramente mi capita di rivalutare qualche libro mal giudicato, magari letto nel momento sbagliato e di promuoverlo tra le prime file...più spesso confermo il mio giudizio e li torno a seppellire lontan dagli occhi e lontan dal cuore
In questo caso ho confermato il mio giudizio iniziale: un libro mediocre e tuttavia non mal sc
...more
Dora Okeyo
Has a hint of Gatsby and Daisy in it- but nothing like the story.

I could not bear with Corrine at times, and Russell seemed to be drifting through time and places by drowning in parties and his ambition.
A
Jul 05, 2010 A rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: read-2010
Classic white man's burden shenanigans from McInerney, this time focusing on an early-30s publishing bright light who is deep in debt thanks to his bright lights, big city lifestyle (hmm....) and looks for a way out by playing with the big money boy$. (The Good Life, the sequel which follows these same characters through 9/11, is waiting for me come 2011.) McInerney is actually a phenomenal writer and a master of character and insight; I just have to suppress my douchelord gag reflex about him b ...more
Matt Micheli
This book had all the right components of a good Jay McInerney novel, but there was simply too much going on and too many pages. I prefer the shorter straight-to-the-point Jay.
Bob Lakeman
Silly, sophomoric tale of empty couple, Russell and Corinne and their entirely predictable rise and fall. Better writing on any soap opera with less believable villains.
Dan Burnstein
This is a surprisingly rewarding read. Its a good page turner and yet it also captures something respectful about the MBA-greed generation of New Yorkers - a demographic easily dismissed as shallow and short-sighted. This is a tale of a book editor who sees a way to back an leveraged buyout of his old-time white shoe publishing firm that has not been desperate about profits. The characters are engaging and the story propels itself to a predictable ending. The writing is what makes the book speci ...more
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John Barrett McInerney Jr. is an American writer. His novels include Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, and The Last of the Savages. He edited The Penguin Book of New American Voices, wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City, and co-wrote the screenplay for the television film Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie. He is the wine co ...more
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Bright Lights, Big City Story of My Life The Good Life The Last Of The Savages Model Behaviour

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“He looks out the window at the falling snow, then turns and takes his wife in his arms, feeling grateful to be here even as he wonders what he is going to do with his life in strictly practical terms. For years he had trained himself to do one thing, and he did it well, but he doesn't know whether he wants to keep doing it for the rest of his life, for that matter, whether anyone will let him. He is still worrying when they go to bed.

Feeling his wife's head nesting in the pillow below his shoulder, he is almost certain that they will find ways to manage. They've been learning to get by with less, and they'll keep learning. It seems to him as if they're taking a course in loss lately. And as he feels himself falling asleep he has an insight he believes is important, which he hopes he will remember in the morning, although it is one of those thoughts that seldom survive translation to the language of daylight hours: knowing that whatever plenty befalls them together or separately in the future, they will become more and more intimate with loss as the years accumulate, friends dying or slipping away undramatically into the crowded past, memory itself finally flickering and growing treacherous toward the end; knowing that even the children who may be in their future will eventually school them in the pain of growth and separation, as their own parents and mentors die off and leave them alone in the world, shivering at the dark threshold.”
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