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Extended Audio Sample Bright Lights, Big City Audiobook, by Jay McInerney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00018682858477 out of 53.00018682858477 out of 53.00018682858477 out of 53.00018682858477 out of 53.00018682858477 out of 5 3.00 (10,705 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jay McInerney Narrator: Daniel Passer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780307578167
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With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Bright Lights, Big City defined, and even determined, the mood of this whole town. Vanity Fair
  • Bright Lights, Big City is a brilliant and moving work—unique, refreshing, imaginatively powerful and authentically conceived. The New York Times
  • Short, sleek and very funny.... Beneath it's surface, though, a heart's cry for a saner, sweeter, more thoughtful and restrained existence. Chicago Tribune
  • Each generation needs its Manhattan novel, and many ache to write it. But it was McInerney who succeeded. The New York Times Book Review 
  • Each generation needs its Manhattan novel, and many ache to write it. But it was McInerney who succeeded. The New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sophie | 11/2/2016

    " This book is exhilarating! The narrative, relayed in the unusual but very fitting 2nd person p.o.v, is witty, eloquent, racy and self aware. Really captures that 1980s cocaine, hedonism and decadent culture told through the eyes of the early 20's protagonist who is searching for his place in all of it. Fantastic descriptions and inventive language. I'd already read it a while back but listening to it was even better. The narrator was perfect for it and really added another dimension. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maciek | 2/13/2014

    " I didn't think people wrote novels in second person, but this works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sabina | 2/4/2014

    " Read this one because its on the Time 100 Greatest Novels list. While the style was interesting in that it was all in second-person, very unusual for a novel, it was not the greatest book I have ever read. Certainly it wasn't the worst, but it would not have made my top 100. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 1/31/2014

    " Enjoyed this book a ton. The turn toward the end pulled the story together well and provided a deeper layer that was very insightful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 G | 1/25/2014

    " It's a bit dated but the voice is a strong one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heaether | 1/19/2014

    " one of my favorites. same themes as american psycho, no gore or murder. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 1/17/2014

    " great book/bad movie "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edward | 1/15/2014

    " A charming love letter to cocaine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denidevine | 1/14/2014

    " Michael J Fox...oops I saw the movie first....I mean young man in NYC in the 80's crazy and coked up. I found it enjoyable to watch and read but it wasn't amazing..... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 1/8/2014

    " Raw, real, fucked up. McInerney isn't afraid to dig into the deep underbelly of New York nightlife and the world of a 20-something. Ranked up there as one of the best books I've read in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica Donaghy | 1/5/2014

    " McInerney's sly prose can make you laugh as it simultaneously alienates you. It feints right, twists left, and then suddenly pulls a punch and profoundly moves you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Prasad GR | 1/1/2014

    " If not for any other reason - though there are reasons aplenty - I loved this book for its second person narrative alone. A truly novel experience. What a story and what an amazing way to narrate it! Lovely. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anton | 12/22/2013

    " tore it in half and threw it out the window when I was finished "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jackie | 12/20/2013

    " Though the movie did it a disservice, this was the IT book of its time and a fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rose | 12/18/2013

    " This was brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 11/30/2013

    " The book was funny and smart and hip. The problem is that it was written in 1984 which now makes hip dated. The book captures a week of guy in New York doing lots of cocaine burning the candle at both endsIt was sad poginant and funny, all rolled into one. I enjoyed the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Txkikind | 8/21/2013

    " A great read. It made me want to visit NYC again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Uy | 2/4/2013

    " A strange read at first. It gets a lot deeper in the later chapters. I had some trouble relating to the characters at the start, but by the end I felt at one with the protagonist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Serge | 10/5/2012

    " What a relief to finally read something well written and meaningful. It's easy to see how a lot of writers get their influence directly from McInerney (or copy him outright... I'm looking at you, Tropper). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marni | 4/24/2012

    " A great follow up to Tender is the Night, a contempoery story of the same lost soul as Dick Driver but one who seems to be pulling himself ou t of the slime at the end. Well written, cringe-causing in places but recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 christa | 3/30/2012

    " ah. my first mcinerney. i'm pissed i didn't read this stuff earlier in my life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 8/30/2011

    " Pretty interesting perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel Seymour | 7/16/2011

    " This not so much a story as it is a character study and moral inventory. A damn good one at that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natasha | 5/20/2011

    " Probably my favorite type of writing. Fast, destructive literature, like Bret Easton Ellis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 5/19/2011

    " One of the fundamental books of my young adulthood. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross | 5/14/2011

    " This book and Brett Ellis' Less Than Zero are the quintessential pop literature of the eighties. That they were also very well-written books is laudable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richgamble | 5/12/2011

    " Bright Lights Big City is a very funny book despite its sometimes dark subject matter. Jay uses second person narration to great effect without it coming across as a gimmick. This is the original 80's novel, a must for fans of the decade or those interested in modern literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 4/19/2011

    " Wonderful fun. Felt very fresh
    when I first read it.
    Could do with giving it a second read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 4/13/2011

    " A fun experiment, and it mostly holds up, though I found my attention flagging toward the end, especially when confronted with the shapeless finale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 3/27/2011

    " I loved it in the 80s, re-read it recently and found it a bit lacking in the overall plot, but the day to day regarding the protagonist's job as a fact-checker were hysterical. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MIchael | 3/23/2011

    " Sex, drugs, alcohol, cocaine and some work mixed in. That pretty much describes this short novel. I read it in 3 days. Didn't really have much of a plot with the exception of the random sex and ubiquitous drug use. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Babete | 3/14/2011

    " ( As Mil Luzes de Nova Iorque ) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cancercorp | 3/7/2011

    " Well... if it wasn't written in second person would you still keep reading? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 3/2/2011

    " All the reviews on the book speak of its humor. I missed that part of the book, but still enjoyed the examination of 80s excesses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 2/27/2011

    " Bright Lights, Big City was a bit disjointed. In the end things made sense but the story took a turn for the serious in in the last 50 pages. It was alright. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 2/22/2011

    " I was expecting more from the story/character development, but it was still good. I was blown away with the style, amazing execution of 2ns person. I will not hold it against him that McInerney went to Williams. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jack | 1/19/2011

    " Not the best book of all time, but definitely my favorite. I couldn't love it more, if I tried. "

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About the Author
Author Jay McInerney

Jay McInerney is the author of seven novels and two collections of essays on wine. He is a regular contributor to New York magazine, Guardian Weekly (London), and Corriere della Sera.