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Brightness Falls

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  2,495 Ratings  ·  112 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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David Lentz
Jun 11, 2011 David Lentz rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2008 Cmamer rated it liked it
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
Mar 28, 2007 christa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: doneanddone
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."
Sep 28, 2008 J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: defenestrated
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 ...
Sep 21, 2014 Nanou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2013 Meryl rated it really liked it
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.

Aug 26, 2008 A.J. rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, literary
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.

Mar 23, 2008 Jack rated it really liked it
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
Jan 30, 2010 Brendan rated it it was amazing
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
Edijkelly Salvatore
Feb 10, 2009 Edijkelly Salvatore rated it it was amazing
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.
Justin Hall
Aug 13, 2016 Justin Hall rated it really liked it
I will thoroughly review soon don't worry
May 22, 2014 Parvathy rated it liked it
A passage to adulthood tale set in '80s New York. Loved the writing - clever and pretty. My review here:
Dec 16, 2007 Cherie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oneofmyfaves, fiction
A+ Fantastic story of two couples and their love, affairs, and complications in NYC--the kind of book that takes you over
Jul 16, 2010 Colleen rated it it was amazing
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.
John McDermott
Jul 07, 2016 John McDermott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly brilliant novel. Without question, one of my all time favourites.
May 31, 2007 AE rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dicklit
God, I think I'm finally ready to let go of my love for the 80s brat pack writers (save janowitz).
Charlie Rosenthal
Dec 12, 2012 Charlie Rosenthal rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Could not recommend more.
Gumble's Yard
Jan 17, 2017 Gumble's Yard rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
The first in what became (at least so far) a trilogy of zeitgeist novels about fashionable and affluent New York art (particularly literary) and financial (particularly investment banking) circles at the time of crises impacting on New York: the 1987 crash, Aids (both in this book, September 11th (The Good Life), 2008 global financial crisis (Bright, Precious Days).

The key protagonists in the book are Corrine and Russell Calloway, both attractive and married young they are seen by their friends
Nov 01, 2010 Richard rated it it was ok
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
Nov 20, 2016 Kurt rated it liked it
Four stars for the first 200 pages of Brightness Falls. Great, but not quite up to McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City standards. Two stars for the mind-numbing, over-reaching, name-dropping middle hundred-or-so pages, during which I almost threw in the towel. Then perhaps a touch more twinkle than 4, for the final, sobering, sweetly crashing 14 chapters. Given my questionable math skills, along with a self-diagnosed Freudian aversion to thirds, let's round it off here to three-and-a-half stars.
Feb 23, 2017 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Your Truest Friend is Your Greatest Rival
Can imagine that there is a heavily annotated copy of this Great American Novel somewhere in the archives of Great American Novelist Jonathan Franzen. Jokes aside, I quite enjoyed this return to the world of "happily" married couple Russell and Corrinne Calloway and their friends and lovers, their shopping and fucking, their achievements and failures.

McInerney published this in 1992, looking back at 1987...but for all the deep, deep nostalgia for NYC he
Juliana Rose
Oct 16, 2016 Juliana Rose rated it liked it
Shelves: nyc
This is a book about a couple, viewed by everyone as America's sweethearts, who are actually falling apart at the seams.

Jay McInerney is undoubtedly a phenomenal writer. He says the things we're all thinking but don't even know we're thinking, but this book lacked enough stimulation for me to really be blown away.

It can get a little pretentious, though not in a nauseating way, as you get the feeling the author hid himself unsubtly in his characters. I couldn't get past the lack of question mar
Rajesh Kurup
May 15, 2017 Rajesh Kurup rated it really liked it
A fine coda to the rise and fall of New York in the 1980s. The story begins with the headiness of the M&A, levereged buy out days of the 1980s and ends with the aftershocks caused by the 87 crash. The couple at the center of the story sees their fortunes rise and fall in tandem.
What I liked about Brightness Falls is how real it all felt..the greedy desperation, the cast of characters and the city itself. I lived in New York in the edgy 1990s and could relate to the city that McInerney wrote
Veronica Fitzgerald
Mar 08, 2017 Veronica Fitzgerald rated it liked it
There was a lot about this book that bothered me. In many ways it was just too light and attempted to be too hip. With hindsight being what it is, I felt like McInerney was trying to be prophetic except he had the advantage of already knowing how events turned out. Regardless, I got to a point where I could not put the book down. It may have taken a little while to warm up to the characters but I eventually got pulled into the interconnectedness of their stories. All in all, a fun book to read, ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Myles rated it really liked it
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
Gary Thomas
Sep 15, 2016 Gary Thomas rated it really liked it
Jay McInerney is only six years older than me, so he feels like a contemporary. I like novels that carry on long stories through the years--like Updike's famous Rabbit series--so when I heard that McInerney's most recent novel ("Bright, Precious Days") was going to carry on Russell and Corrine Calloway's story, I thought I'd go back and re-read this one first, which was published in 1992. It was hard to believe I first read it over twenty years ago.

Reading novels like this makes me grateful for
Josh Ang
Aug 13, 2013 Josh Ang rated it really liked it
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
Leanne Ellis
Mar 06, 2017 Leanne Ellis rated it really liked it
Loved the writing, scenes, and the time period!
Feb 19, 2017 Svb rated it liked it
This is an exception for me; I usually would not stick with a book that doesn't grab from the start. but if you can make it through the first 200 pages, it becomes quite interesting and well-told. I'd recommend skimming (horrors!) the first half, just to becone acquainted with the main characters of Corrinne, Russell, Jeff, &Washington. Get to know how the financial setting interplays with the morality of 1980's New York City. McInerney's writing is eloquent. I'd give it 4 stars if an editor ...more
Sheu Quen
Feb 02, 2014 Sheu Quen rated it it was amazing
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
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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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“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.”
“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” 0 likes
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