Posts From Author: jonathan safran foer

Jay McInerney’s The Good Life

In a 2005 article for the Guardian entitled “The uses of invention”, Jay McInerney set out to counter the prevalent concern that literature was no longer up to the task, following 9/11, of processing world events. His contribution to the proof was The Good Life (2006), a novel set in the autumn of 2001 in the bedrooms of wealthy Manhattanites dealing with the aftermath of the destruction downtown. It was McInerney’s seventh novel and a sequel of sorts to 1992’s Brightness Falls. The book’s central insight is given to Luke McGavock around halfway through: “Personally is maybe the only perspective we have.” Like much of the fiction published since 9/11, McInerney’s novel is not principally about terrorism or the fall of the World Trade Center. Instead, it examines the effects of the attacks on individuals. His characters’ lives are all balanced somewhat precariously before September 11; the subject of the book becomes how such an epochal event can change perspectives in unforeseeable ways. Luke is something of an avatar for McInerney, who also spent the weeks following 9/11 working in a soup kitchen downtown, and he is occasionally blessed with an almost authorial clairvoyance. At a benefit at Central Park Zoo: The women were beautiful in their gowns, or at least glamorous […]
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