Jay McInerney

Jay McInerney is a young American novelist (Bright Lights, Big City and Ransom) who has tasted the fame he is discussing.

Diary: The Great American Novelists

Jay McInerney, 23 April 1987

Why is it so difficult to sustain a literary career in America? Joyce proposed that Ireland is an old sow who devours her young; America sometimes seems to resemble a meat-packing corporation that bloats its animals with hormones and chemical hype before slitting their throats. ‘There are no second acts in American lives,’ said F. Scott Fitzgerald, archetype of the American artist betrayed by the Judas kiss of fame, his early work overpraised, he himself declared a has-been just as he was achieving mastery. No one understood the process better than the author of The Great Gatsby, certainly not his fair-weather friend Hemingway, who tried to bluff his way into a venerable old age. Dos Passos became more invisible and more cranky with each book he published after the USA trilogy. Of the stars of the class of 1918, only William Faulkner survived gracefully, protected by a thick cloak of obscurity until the very end.

Beautiful People

Jonathan Coe, 23 July 1992

It might seem a rather obvious point to make at the outset, but two of these novels are extremely long. Long novels make specific demands on our patience and attention, and in the end this can...

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End of the Century

John Sutherland, 13 October 1988

It would be interesting to place Jay McInerney and David Holbrook as neighbours at E.M. Forster’s imaginary table. Both novelists are fascinated by decadence – that much they have in...

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Lee Van Cleef! I remember him in A Fistful of Dollars, where he had the respectable native occupation of bounty hunter, and a gun (with a natty set of attachments) which came in a flap-down case....

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