The Good Life  
Jay McInerney
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Jay reads a sexually explicit passage to a crowd in Houston, enjoys a tremendous meal and witnesses a drunken car crash.

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So, I kicked off my tour in Houston where I was a last minute replacement for Gish Jen, whom I gather, was sick. The book isn't even officially out yet, but I decided to do it partly because my friend Julian Barnes was the other author on the bill and I was dying to see him, although I just saw him for his birthday in London a couple of weeks ago. He just wrote Arthur & George, which may be his best novel yet, for which he got screwed out of the Booker Prize. But that's another story.

So I decided to slip in and do this event and I'm glad I did it, it was a great way to start, even though I think Houston physically is sort of baffling to a New Yorker and terribly uninteresting. Sort of sprawling suburbs with clumps of skyscrapers here and there in the skyline. But the people we met were great and in some ways a lot less jaded and more culturally avid I think than the average New Yorker.

I flew in with my editor, Gary Fisketjon, who is also Julian's editor and we stopped at the University of Houston, at the Master's Program, and gave a little talk. And then we went to, gosh, I'm forgetting the name of the theater now, but we had a great audience, about 350-400 people. Somehow Julian and I both picked sexually explicit material, I'm not sure why, and looking out into the audience at one point, I realized that half of the audience was much older than I was. I was slightly nervous about my choice, and probably I was underestimating them, being the snobbish New Yorker that I am, but it went down really well.

Afterwards, we went to a dinner sponsored by this great group that brings these writers to Houston called Imprint. We managed to see one of the nicer neighborhoods in Houston, and went to a private home, a couple named C.C. and Mack Fowler, where there were 20 or 30 people and had a tremendous meal. Slightly disappointing wine, Julian and I are both oenophiles. We both deplore this tendency to serve top shelf liquor and rotgut wine, that seems to be so widespread. But otherwise a tremendous evening which ended rather spectacularly when a passing motorist drunkenly crashed into the wall outside the house and then fled the scene of the accident. So that provided some nice punctuation for the evening.

We got driven home to our hotel uneventfully, where we discovered that at a quarter to twelve in Houston even the hotel bars are closed although we managed to find an Irish Pub around the corner and have a couple of bourbons before we called it a night. So tune in to the next podcast

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