Review : Brightness Falls

Trente ans et des poussièresTrente ans et des poussières by Jay McInerney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York during the late eighties : the city is blooming with traders, investors and financial animals of all sorts. Russell and Corinne are a successful couple, yet they crave for power. Especially Russell, who is a typical ruthlessly ambitious junior working at Corbin, Dern, a prestigious editor. Corinne, on her side, has become a broker almost without knowing it. Both of them are convinced of their good hearts, Russell because he works in culture (but is obsessed with money and social position), Corinne because she works once a week for a caricative cause, serving food to homeless people (but she will be unable to help one of them when he’ll need it). Tensions arise, both inside and outside their couple.

It’s very interesting to read a novel set in the eighties and try to find the seeds of the current economic crisis. I thought the story was a little bit long to unwind, but Jay McInerney is a very subtle storyteller. In the end, there will be forgiveness, but also many victims. Should the people who have ruined other people’s life have the right to start over again ? That’s one of the many questions arisen at the end of the book. In many ways, Brightness Falls can be connected to Franzen’s Freedom, for its accurate description of the american middle class and of the feeling of guilt.

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