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Jay McInerney Biography

(1955– ), Bright Light, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

American writer, born in Hartford, Connecticut, educated at Williams College and Syracuse University. His first novel, Bright Light, Big City (1983), dealing with the decadent habits of a group of middle-class New Yorkers, initiated a trend in American fiction of the early 1980s, which was characterized by a certain metropolitan brittleness, sexual cynicism, and a concern with the conspicuous consumerism of the Reagan years; McInerney also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation. Ransom (1985) is about an American expatriate in Japan, and Story of My Life (1988) returns to a New York setting and a cast of somewhat jaded Bright Young Things. The more ambitious in scope Brightness Falls (1992), set in New York in the 1980s, concerns a group of ambitious young professionals including Russell Calloway, a publisher who becomes embroiled in financial difficulties; his wife, Corinne, a high-flying business-woman torn between the demands of her career and her longing to have a child; and Jeff Pierce, a successful writer who seems intent on destroying himself with drugs. The novel offers a jaundiced view of contemporary American society, which emerges as morally bankrupt and obsessed with material gain. McInerney edited Cowboys, Indians and Commuters (1994), a collection of short stories on modern American life by various writers.

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