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Extended Audio Sample The Good Life: A Novel Audiobook, by Jay McInerney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,461 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jay McInerney Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781415931646
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Clinging to a semiprecarious existence in TriBeCa, Corrine and Russell Calloway have survived a separation and are thoroughly wonderstruck by young twins whose provenance is nothing less than miraculous, even as they contend with the faded promise of a marriage tinged with suspicion and deceit. Meanwhile, several miles uptown and perched near the top of the Upper East Side’s social register, Luke McGavock has postponed his accumulation of wealth in an attempt to recover the sense of purpose now lacking in a life that often gives him pause—especially with regard to his teenage daughter, whose wanton extravagance bears a horrifying resemblance to her mother’s. But on a September morning, brightness falls horribly from the sky, and people worlds apart suddenly find themselves working side by side at the devastated site, feeling lost anywhere else, yet battered still by memory and regret, by fresh disappointment and unimaginable shock. What happens, or should happen, when life stops us in our tracks, or our own choices do? What if both secrets and secret needs, long guarded steadfastly, are finally revealed? What is the good life?

Posed with astonishing understanding and compassion, these questions power a novel rich with characters and events, both comic and harrowing, revelatory about not only New York after the attacks but also the toll taken on those lucky enough to have survived them. Wise, surprising, and, ultimately, heart-stoppingly redemptive, The Good Life captures lives that allow us to see through personal, social, and moral complexity—more clearly into the heart of things.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “McInerney has proven himself not only a brilliant stylist but a master of characterization, with a keen eye for the incongruities of urban life.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “McInerney probes the human response to tragedy, and the complexity of human desire, with both precision and empathy. He is a master at finding the truths we barely admit even to ourselves; without moralizing, he explores the ways we use disaster to our own emotional ends, and above all, whether we're really capable of change.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This story is a simple one, but McInerney delivers it with grace and wit. He does what a good novelist should: he takes an abstract idea and gives it life.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 2/8/2014

    " Rich Manhattanites spend the months after 9/11 in a tumultuous, ill-fated romantic drama. Replete with teenage drug addiction redeemed by horses, various -onack Hamptons towns, celebrity sprinklings. There is an overarching message that love is fickle and there are two types of men: "those who cheat and those who feel guilty about it." Did I mention I'm happy not to live in NYC? Still, a much better read than my last go-round with pukey "South of Broad." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 2/2/2014

    " A pretty good read and the author has a nice way with words. The ending was disappointing: after all that the characters had been through, against the backdrop of 9/11, they chose not to take a chance on new lives, except for the 14-year-old daughter who chose to live with her grandmother in rural Tennessee. The others chose to remain in unhappy and unloving marriages. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 megan | 1/30/2014

    " Like being at a dinner party with a bunch of suckasses who have never quite made it clear why they get to be so much better than you. Enough with the name-dropping. Enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nilanjona | 1/30/2014

    " The life of New Yorkers after 9/11. Family life, high society parties, children entering the dangerous teen years, and extramarital affairs, all while dealing with America's tragedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolee Wheeler | 1/16/2014

    " McInerney's 9/11 book, from which we are to learn that tragedy and catastrophe makes people altruistic for about four seconds until they remember their own banal problems and set about causing more. I wish I could have just looked at this as a love story, or as a group of people trying nobly to exit unsatisfying situations. Instead (like all of the McInerney books I've read) it comes off as a story made even more shallow and pathetic by the heavy surroundings of a life-altering event. At least it didn't have a happy ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dragana | 1/15/2014

    " 3.5 stars if possible. be prepared for amplitudes between brilliance and cheese; overall smart & sexy "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa Romansky | 1/10/2014

    " I read this book over the weekend. It was about a bunch of NYC married people who cheat on each other after the 9/11 events. I kind of found it boring and had no sympathy for any of them. IT was sorta slow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 1/8/2014

    " Book club read. Characters did nothing for me.. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 12/31/2013

    " Much better than I anticipated; one of the first post 9-11 novels, and quite indelible. Very moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jgabrielli | 12/30/2013

    " This is a book set in post 9/11 New York - but is not all about 9/11, but rather the interpersonal connections of a few people after this event. 9/11 is the backdrop, not the focal point and the story is poignant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 12/25/2013

    " Well written. A Good Read "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Keerthi | 12/9/2013

    " the only reason i finished this terrible, overwrought book is that i was stuck on a 12-hour flight from munich "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tuomo | 7/21/2013

    " Great story and Robertson Dean reads it wonderfully. Recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 5/12/2013

    " Excellent character development, entertaining read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ivy | 5/2/2013

    " McInerney is always a good read. Not mind blowing, but never let's you down. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kerrilynn Pamer | 3/6/2013

    " Not a great book, but good for summer reading. Very gossip heavy, was kind of enjoyable because it read so easily, but the story is kind of one dimensional and the incorporation of September 11th into it turned me off somewhat. Didn't make me want to read more by him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue | 2/20/2013

    " Story contrived but depiction of life in lower Manhattan after 9/11 was interesting "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Lufkin | 12/29/2012

    " Enjoyed this book and was satisfied with the way it ended. Definitely brought back memories of 911. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pamela | 11/28/2012

    " A solid read but nothing special. The characters seemed very formulaic and the supporting characters should have had more of a voice. I feel the author fell short with what was a good idea and a promising beginning. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andy | 7/2/2012

    " Normally, I like Jay McInerney but this was painful. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juli Ryan | 6/21/2012

    " In The Good Life, there is some genuis in McInerney's satirical view of the affluent, entitled Manhattan upper class. Unfortunately, against the catastrophic backdrop of 9/11, the sappy love story is disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gregory Cox | 4/11/2012

    " McInerny is one of my favorite authors. However, this was a good book, but not one of my favorites by the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glen | 3/7/2012

    " Of course the tragedy of 9/11 would be a very daunting task to take on in a novel, but McInerney does a fairly good job of documenting the numerous ways in which the human spirit confronts or avoids dealing with tragedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carl | 9/20/2011

    " Good read...but the ending felt false. "

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

    " Loved it. Great tale of post 9-11 NYC. Inspired my own writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pcon | 3/18/2011

    " A solid read but nothing special. The characters seemed very formulaic and the supporting characters should have had more of a voice. I feel the author fell short with what was a good idea and a promising beginning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marjorie | 1/4/2011

    " This was a very good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darrin | 12/27/2010

    " Interesting follow-up to Brightness Falls (although it's not necessary to have read that book to enjoy this one). The book shows the connections made between people in Manhattan in the months following the 9/11 tragedy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 12/21/2010

    " More successful Manhattanites with troubled lives, this time with added extra 9/11. Jay McInerney's one of the few novelists I read, mainly because the writing's so sharp, and The Good Life didn't disappoint. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ilana | 12/15/2010

    " predictable and cliche. a bad version of a tom wolffe novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 12/13/2010

    " This was the right time, and I am precisely the right age, to read this book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gloriagloom | 11/18/2010

    " ma cosa è successo a McInerney? lo hanno rapito gli ufo e sostituito con un borsista di un corso di scrittura creativa? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 11/13/2010

    " tragic story of how 911 impacted relationships, childhood, marriage and business of 4 couples in NYC. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeroen | 11/10/2010

    " I really, really loved this book. A far cry from Bright Lights, Big City in writing style, this is a warm and moving story against the backdrop of 9/11. Together with The Emperor's Children, this is the best novel that came in the post-9/11 flow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Al | 10/26/2010

    " Once again McInerney shows he is a master at conveying mixed emotions among complex characters. You can see where this one is going but the ending is realistic and satisfying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 10/25/2010

    " An amazing novel. Nothing more, nothing less. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sophia | 10/4/2010

    " It was okay, no engaging plot that propels the story forward. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mayuri | 9/1/2010

    " the beginning of this book is a FIVE. but it somehow loses its momentum and the characters take on too much towards the end...but worth the read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andy | 8/28/2010

    " Normally, I like Jay McInerney but this was painful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 8/17/2010

    " Much better than I anticipated; one of the first post 9-11 novels, and quite indelible. Very moving. "

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About the Author
Author Jay McInerney

Jay McInerney is the author of eight novels, a collection of short stories and three collections of essays on wine. He lives in New York City and Bridgehampton, New York.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.