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The Good Life

Compact Disc | 0-7393-2530-2

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About the Book | Praise | Read an Excerpt


In The Good Life, Jay McInerney unveils a story of love, family, conflicting desires, and catastrophic loss in his most powerfully searing work thus far.

Clinging to a semiprecarious existence in TriBeCa, Corrine and Russell Calloway have survived a separation and are wonderstruck by young twins whose provenance is nothing less than miraculous. 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. 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.

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.


"A real love story . . . with a sympathy and depth new to McInerney's fiction."
The New York Times

"The Good Life is McInerney's most fully imagined novel as it is his most ambitious and elegiac."
The New York Review of Books

"A Triumph. . . . His finest novel since Brightness Falls. . . . McInerney's genius is to eschew the sweeping assumption that we were united rather than alone in our confusion; that there was a single collective experience of grief rather than millions of individual ones. . . . McInerney's filigreed, butter-thick prose and Chekhovian plotting also bear comparison to the Updike of Couples (1968), a novel about countercultural eroticism seeping into suburban mores. Like Updike, McInerney wants to know just how much history really changes us."
The Village Voice

"McInerney at his narrative best."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Ambitious. . . . It's about loss, and it's about hope. They're neck-and- neck for a long time, but it looks like hope is pulling ahead."
The Buffalo News

"The Good Life is a . . . thoughtful elegy for a gilded age smashed to dust."

"McInerney's elegantly expressed compassion lifts The Good Life toward real literary authority."
The Baltimore Sun

"Intelligent, heartfelt and acutely observed . . . and better than practically anything he's written."
Seattle Weekly

"Rich with engaging narration, telling observations and dialogue conveyed in virtuoso Manhattanese. . . . McInerney remains one of the most incisive commentators of our time."
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"A bulwark, a monument to remind us all of what is important in our lives."
Richmond Times-Dispatch

"A satisfying addition to a growing genre that deploys the imagination to capture the unimaginable."
The Miami Herald

"A novel that is both tender and entertaining . . . about shallowness and what might replace it [in a] relentlessly secular world, where there are no easy sources of redemption . . . McInerney's concern is not terrorism or politics but love: how relationships can disintegrate through children and routine, the tension between love and sex and what can keep a union alive, [and he] delivers it with grace and wit."
—Alain de Botton, Publishers Weekly

"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. A day that most people said would change us all forever seems now to have provided only a vacation from our bad habits. Like the marriages in this novel, the intensity of feeling just can't last. There have been a number of 9/11 novels lately, as writers grapple with what that terrible day means to us. This one is essential."
—Keir Graff, Booklist, starred review

"[McInerney's] New York takes on a life of its own, becoming as much a character as any of the two-legged kind . . . Inveterate Gothamites will especially appreciate this love story between kindred spirits and between city dwellers and their wounded mecca."
—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

"McInerney spurns sanctimony as he beholds tragedies large and small . . . The Good Life is a tinselly but thoughtful elegy for a gilded age smashed to dust."—Alexandra Jacobs, Elle

"One of the sexiest books of the season."—Donald Harington, Paste

"His best book since Bright Lights, Big City . . . a very subtle, incredibly insightful, heartbreaking story about life in New York, about marriage, about children and the choices they force us to make, about love and longing, about the search for meaning in our lives. It's a book about hope and how we find it, sustain and lose it, and it's a book about loss and how we deal with it . . . People wonder what kind of writer Fitzgerald might have been had he lived. McInerney, his closest successor, is starting to show us."
—James Frey


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