A peek inside Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

“You described the feeling you’d always had of being misplaced, of always standing to one side of yourself, of watching yourself in the world even as you were being in the world, and wondering if this was how everyone felt.

“That you always believed that other people had a clearer idea of what they were doing, and didn’t worry quite so much about why.”
– Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

Bright Lights, Big City is one of those novels which manages to beautifully articulate the struggles, joys and hurts of life in such a way that is so relatable.

It helps that it was written in second person, which instantly puts you in the character’s thoughts, but more so it is McInerney’s ability to capture the emotions and feelings that we often do not vocalise in such an eloquent and beautiful way.

The snippet above is an example of the joys which can be found inside Bright Lights, Big City. It deals with our ability to feel completely alone even when surrounded by many who may feel the same as us. It deals with our inability to express and vocalise our pain. It deals with life: what we want out of it and what we think it is about.

Bright Lights, Big City is the story of a man recovering from heartache, sadness and being lost in this world. It is about expectations: those which you impose on yourself, those that your family impose on you and those which society throws at you. It details a part of 1980’s New York and allows you to view this world of parties, drugs and nameless faces. It is more than a recommended read. It is a must read.


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