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How It Ended: New and Collected Stories

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  161 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
From the writer whose first novel, Bright Lights, Big City, defined a generation, a collection of twenty-six stories, new and old, that trace the arc of his career for nearly three decades.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
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Feb 15, 2009 christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Jay McInerney's world, men are writers with varying degrees of success. They are married to women who are pregnant, which may or may not stall their philandering. The wife typically knows what's up and either ignores it, aborts the child or asks the man to have his fairly healthy cat put to sleep as contrition. There is typically a back story salted with cocaine residue and lapsed catholicism. His newer stories always reference 9/11 in some capacity.

In Jay McInerney's world, no one leaves Ne
Sep 08, 2011 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific collection of short stories by a real master of the form. It's a bit of a history lesson/writing lesson - you get to see the stories that would later become Bright Lights Big City and Story Of My Life - but it's also just a lesson in the form. His preface talks about the form of short stories and he just nails it, even with the stories that are more dead weight that interesting.

There are only a few of those dead weight stories, you'll be happy to know, and most of them are absolutely
Mar 21, 2011 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
While I've never done bathtubs of cocaine (or any cocaine at all, unfortunately? Fortunately?), or lived in NYC, or been to socialite swank parties, that's okay! I can do all of these things through the magic of Jay McInerney.

If asked who my favorite author is, my pat answer has always been Tom Wolfe. Now, I'm not so sure. Maybe it's Jay McInerney, maybe it's not. I do know I'm about to embark on a McInerney glut, reading everything he's ever written in the next few months, including re-reading
Jul 02, 2014 Frances rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The stories collected in “How It Ended” by Jay McInerney span almost thirty years. They are assembled in no particular order and include McInerney’s first published story as well as a number that he produced rapid fire in 2008. What struck me most about these stories is that I could never guess in what year each was written. I was almost always surprised by the date at the end. This disconcerted me. Rather than being illustrative of a particular style, it suggested stagnation.

The content and cha
OK, so here's one of my guilty literary pleasures. I absolutely love me some Jay McInerney. I adore the guy and his writing, and have for quite some time. But here's the thing about me and McInerney: as much as I hate to admit it, I've come to the conclusion that I can only take him in smallish doses, and How It Ended: New and Collected Stories confirms that theory. This is not a collection of stories that is meant to be read straight through, as I did over the New Years weekend. (Especially ove ...more
ron swegman
Jul 08, 2010 ron swegman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When the name "Jay McInerney" is mentioned during a book talk the first three three things that come to most minds are: "Novelist," "New York," and "The Eighties."

McInerney's debut novel, "Bright Lights, Big City", was a critical and commercial success that encapsulated the atmosphere and social life of New York in the 1980's. The novel also created a lasting comparison to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote a novel, "The Great Gatsby", that encapsulated the atmosphere and social life of New York in
Bookmarks Magazine

Compared by critics to such literary giants as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, J. D. Salinger, and Graham Greene, McInerney has demonstrated impressive depth and range over the last three decades, and most critics valued How It Ended as a record of McInerney's evolution as a writer. Retaining his mordant humor and panache alongside hard-won wisdom and maturity, McInerney dissects the ambitions and excesses of youth as they yield to the limitations and moderation of middle age. He revisits

(4.5 Stars) How it Ended is Jay McInerney's outstanding collection of twenty-six short stories that span from 1982 to 2008. Prior to this expansive short story collection I had never read McInerney, despite the success of Bright Lights, Big City, Story of My Life, and The Good Life. After finishing How it Ended I seriously regret not reading him sooner. These stories were exactly what I hoped they would be - smart, witty, and bittersweet. In a 2009 New York Times article, "Generation of Benders, ...more
Feb 07, 2016 Abby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange collection of short stories, with sloppy generalizations (e.g., use of the expression "in the cups" to denote being depressed) and stereotypical characters (e.g., the insinuation that black men smoke Newport cigarettes and are socioeconomically and sexually threatening).

Women also get short shrift in McInerney's fiction. They are idealized as unattainable angels (and dead mothers) or portrayed as sexual objects to conquer or discard.

McInerney may think he's a modern-day F. Sco
Apr 26, 2012 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The majority of these stories all follow similar themes: disintegrating marriages, adultery, and abortion - with a little bit of cigarette smoking and drug abuse thrown in for good measure. Let's hope McInerney isn't writing what he knows.

If nothing else it's curious to read the short story origins of some McInerney novels. He is a good writer and some of these stories really stuck with me - especially the post 9-11 stories like the guy who is with his mistress when the towers fall and his wife'
Good batch of short stories if you're looking for something as light and mood enhancing as the booze, drugs, and one night-cum-month long stands described in these stories. I'm not sure why the New York Times is so gushing in its praise of this book--it's good, but it's only slightly more interesting than the '80s coke tales he told back in the day (I was a big fan of those books--now, now as much). Compared to Brett Easton Ellis, McInerney offers far less sarcasm (and exploitation) in print, bu ...more
Dec 31, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I forgot how much I liked Jay McInerney until I read this collection of his short stories. I loved Bright Lights Big City when I read it in college. At the time I probably thought it was just really cool, since it took place in New York and the main characters drank a lot. Reading this collection reminds me that he is a great writer who happens to write about wealthy, unhappy people who drink a lot.
Mar 28, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no denying that McInerney is a good storyteller, whose multi-faceted characters are believable and often interesting. And yet it would be nice to see him write about something other than New York in the 80's, men who cheat and do drugs, high society and its flaws. I really can't relate to much of that, but that is not the problem. The stories are just too repetitive in terms of tone and setting.
Jane Tolman
Aug 26, 2013 Jane Tolman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't realize what a versatile writer Jay McInerney was until I read this book of short stories. I found myself reading about topics of no interest to me yet still being interested the way he wrote about the topic. And more than once, I was very impressed at his command of the English language and his ability to turn a phrase so well. I wish I could write like that.
Holly Foley (Procida)
Jul 29, 2009 Holly Foley (Procida) rated it really liked it
The characters of this collection of stories truly reflect the "me" generation, where infidelity is mostly a game, wealth and status are very valued. The writing by Jay McInerney is sharp and edgy. I enjoyed this book despite the fact I couldn't relate to many of the characters' motives and actions. That made me glad.
Jennifer S. Brown
While some of the stories blended together--the characters don't differentiate enough--and I learned that fidelity is an impossible trait to aspire to in a relationship, some of the stories were rather affecting and overall reading these stories was a bit like visiting old friends who were fun to see, but who I really don't need to see anymore.
Jerry Peace
Apr 10, 2016 Jerry Peace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the short story is really McInernery's vehicle and the later ones in this volume are diamonds. The best lines are from the last page of the last story, "The Last Bachelor": "'What are you going to do?' she said. 'I don't know.' he took a drag. 'Provably the correct thing.' 'What's the correct thing?' 'It's what we do when we don't know what the right thing is.'"
Nov 27, 2011 Edward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrific book of short stories. I enjoyed all the characters created in each story. There were 26 stories covering the last 26 years of his writing life. It is interesting to see his evolution as a writer. His stories were very different from the mid 80's to the current material in the last few years. I guess everyone has to grow up in some fashion. In short, very enjoyable reading.
Apr 21, 2009 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A-/B+ Good stories of McInerney's; a few I didn't thrill over, but most I immensely enjoyed. You get to see some of McInerney's beloved characters (like Alison Poole of "Story of My Life" and Corrine and Russell of "Brightness Falls" and "The Good Life"); by the end, you may tire of the cocaine-addled rich investment bankers, but still, McInerney has a lot of talent.
so far, I am enjoying this more than I thought. I am the only person I know who thinks Story of My Life is brilliant, though...loved loved loved the Rielle Hunter / Lisa Jo Druck / Allison Poole story.
May 03, 2009 Mark rated it liked it
Interesting collection of previous short stories.

I really liked the authors previous book Bright Lights Big City and had not had the chance to read many of the authors other short stories that had appeared in the New Yorker as well as other literary publications.
nothing much new here, but i certainly enjoyed most of the stories and can't imagine anyone who has enjoyed reading mcinerney before not enjoying this collection. liked catching up with some characters from a couple of his past books.
Jan 05, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for people who are into short stories of the rough n tumble-kind. Jay is able to capture characters and mind-sets and scenes by using less and letting the reader take juicy and succinct thought-points and craft a setting. so far, so good.
Oct 30, 2010 Tajma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big McInerney fan, but this was essentially the same five stories retold five times each. I would suggest to anyone who reads this collection to read two stories at a time with at least two weeks in between if one has a good memory.
Al Riske
Jul 25, 2010 Al Riske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not surprising that McInerney studied under Carver and Wolff. Though I wouldn't say the student has surpassed his teachers, he has certainly become a master storyteller in his own right. He is especially skilled at capturing family dynamics.
Jennifer Didik
my rating is based on having read just a few of the stories. i will get around to the rest someday, though not soon enough.
Jun 14, 2010 Kailin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i believe that all of JM's characters are really himself and that self really has a hard time being faithful to his significant other.
Apr 16, 2009 Stefania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
contemporary characters in well-nuanced, believable settings. the newer stories reveal a grace and mastery of the genre.
Found this on sale today. Am pleased with myself

Jul 11, 2009 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glossy stories about rich people, drugs, and sex--but boy can McInerney write! I liked the roman a clef about John Edwards's lover Rielle Hunter.
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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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