"The Good Life," in contrast, is at its most powerful in chronicling its characters' romantic and familial travails, and at its most ham-handed in its attempts at social satire. Indeed the novel is a bizarre mix of the genuinely moving and the trashily facile, the psychologically astute and the ridiculously clichéd; part of it aspires to create an F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque romance, and part sags to the level of a Judith Krantz tale about the rich and overprivileged, grotesquely set against the backdrop of 9/11....Too bad these author struggles don't take the form of doing another draft -- I say glibly, from the safety of my place in a writing form that is all about forgoing drafts.
These sections of "The Good Life," which often lie submerged amid pages and pages of embarrassing writing, suggest that the author has both the desire and the ability to move beyond the glibness of his recent fiction and to tackle more than facile chronicles of fizzy life in the fast lane. In fact, this flawed novel suggests that just as so many of Mr. McInerney's characters dream of reinventing themselves, so, perhaps, is the author struggling to find a way to reinvent himself as a writer.
January 31, 2006
A "trashily facile" novel about "the rich and overprivileged, grotesquely set against the backdrop of 9/11."
Jay McInerney -- that 80s hipster of a novelist -- has a new novel. Michiko Kakutani has a review: