Bright, Precious Days – Jay McInerney


Bright, Precious Days – Jay McInerney

The Last Word Review

 Back in the mid 1980’s I stumbled across Bright Lights, Big City an account the drug fuelled time in New York, a book that has stood the test of time and read many times and still sits on my bookcase. Jay McInerney struggled to find his voice as an author following this incredible book. Then some years later came the first in what was to be a trilogy that follows the lives of Russell and Corrine Calloway.


The first book in the trilogy Brightness Falls (1992) we find the young married couple in October 1987 at the very brink of the stock market crash and the effects it has on their lives. In The Good Life (2006) we see the two characters whose lives have moved on and Corrine now embarking on an affair. This is just at the time of 9/11 and how the people of New York reacted. It makes for compelling reading.  Now in Bright, Precious Days the setting is 2008 and the couple are now in their middle age and for Russell he now runs his own publishing house and Corrine works in the food distribution business. New York being the home to many publishing houses large and small it is the place to be if you want to be in publishing. So much in the literary world seems to have happened here So why not. A world away from Brightness Falls and stock markets. Now the couple with 12 year-old twins seem to spend time looking at their friends and how they seem to have prospered while they seem to have stood still. With each of their own indiscretions now more or less forgiven you would think that they would be happily settled together but one has the sense that their marriage just teeters along and creaking under pressure and expectation.

Then out of the blue comes Luke who had an affair with Corrine when this ended Luke ran away to Africa to forget her, but now he is back but with a stunning wife. Luke now sees what he has missed and starts to try and win her affections once again. Russell weighed down with his publishing business is struggling to find that ultimate fiction bestseller. Though there just may be something coming up for Russell but it is not fiction it is non-fiction and this is a gamble.

Bright, Precious Days is exquisite and looks at relationships and tells of New York at a time when a Presidential battle between Clinton and Obama is taking place that will change America. It is about the frailties of people and how we adapt to ever changing lives. Beautiful and at times moving this is a story so brilliantly told and will in years to come be appreciated my many looking back at a time and a place and people.

Please Jay McInerney let there be a fourth instalment.

Both Brightness Falls and The Good Life have just been re-issued by Bloomsbury.

Thank you to Joseph Thomas at Bloomsbury Publishing for the advanced review copy.

Bright, Precious Days is published was published by Bloomsbury Publishing on 8 September and is available through Waterstones and all good bookshops.