Jay McInerney

Jay McInerney
Jay McInerney 2014.jpg
McInerney at Pen America/Free Expression Literature in May 2014
John Barrett McInerney, Jr.

(1955-01-13) January 13, 1955 (age 63)
Alma materWilliams College
Spouse(s)Linda Rossiter
Merry Raymond
Helen Bransford
Anne Hearst (2006–present)

John Barrett "Jay" McInerney, Jr. (/ˈmækɪnɜːrni/; born January 13, 1955) is an American novelist.[1] His novels include Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, and The Last of the Savages. He ed The Penguin Book of New American Voices, wrote the screenplay for the 1988 film adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City, and co-wrote the screenplay for the television film Gia, which starred Angelina Jolie. He was the wine columnist for House & Garden magazine, and his essays on wine have been collected in Bacchus & Me (2000) and A Hedonist in the Cellar (2006). His most recent novel is titled Bright, Precious Days, published in 2016. From April 2010 he was a wine columnist for The Wall Street Journal. In 2009, he published a book of short stories which spanned his entire career, titled How It Ended, which was named one of the 10 best books of the year by Janet Maslin of The New York Times.[2]

Early life and education[]

McInerney was born in 1955 in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Marilyn Jean (Murphy) and John Barrett McInerney, Jr., a corporate executive.[3] He graduated from Williams College in 1976. At Syracuse University, he earned a Master of Arts in English and studied writing with Raymond Carver.


After working as a fact-checker at The New Yorker, McInerney achieved fame with his first published novel, Bright Lights, Big City. Published in 1984, the novel was unique at the time for its depiction of cocaine culture in second-person narrative. The title is taken from a 1961 blues song by Jimmy Reed. The novel established McInerney's reputation as part of a new generation of writers. Labelled the 'literary brat pack' in a 1987 article in the Village Voice, McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis and Tama Janowitz were presented as the new face of literature: young, iconoclastic and fresh.[4] Five novels followed in rapid succession: Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, The Last of the Savages and Model Behavior.

After the success of Bright Lights, Big City, publishers started looking for similar works about young people in urban settings. Ellis's Less Than Zero, published in 1985, was promoted as following McInerney's example. McInerney, Ellis and Janowitz were based in New York City and their lives there were regular literary themes, chronicled by New York media.

Ellis used McInerney's character, Alison Poole (Story of My Life), in his novels American Psycho and Glamorama. McInerney revealed that the character of Alison Poole is based upon his former girlfriend, Rielle Hunter, then known as Lisa Druck. He described the character as "cocaine addled," and "sexually voracious" but also treated her with some sympathy. McInerney's roman à clef opened a prescient glimpse into the notorious horse murders scandal, which did not become known to the public until 1992, when Sports Illustrated magazine published a confession from the man who had murdered Lisa Druck's horse at her father's behest, in order to claim the insurance on its life.[5]

McInerney also has a cameo role in Ellis's Lunar Park, attending the Halloween party Bret hosts at his house. It was later revealed that McInerney was not pleased with his representation in the novel.[6]

Throughout his career, McInerney has struggled against the strong, almost indelible, image of himself as both the author and protagonist of Bright Lights, Big City. He appeared at Williams College as the Commencement speaker for the Class of 2010.

Personal life[]

His first wife was fashion model Linda Rossiter. His second wife was writer Merry Reymond. For four years he lived with fashion model Marla Hanson.[7] His third marriage, to Helen Bransford, lasted nine years, and the couple had fraternal twin children, John Barrett McInerney III and Maisie Bransford McInerney. In 2006, he married Anne Hearst.



The Calloway trilogy

Short fiction[]

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Con doctor McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Everything is lost 2009 McInerney, Jay (January 4, 2009). "Everything is lost". Sunday Times. London.
In the North-West Frontier Province McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Invisible fences McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
The Madonna of turkey season McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
My public service McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Smoke McInerney, Jay (2009). How it ended : new and collected stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Critical studies and reviews of McInerney's work[]




  1. ^ A slideshow of the best dressed authors, Vanity Fair Archived 2014-01-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Janet Maslin's Top 10 Books of 2009". New York Times.
  3. ^ "McInerney, Jay 1955– - Dictionary definition of McInerney, Jay 1955– - Encyclopedia.com: FREE online dictionary". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ In the September/October 2005 issue of Pages magazine, the "literary brat pack" was identified retrospectively as Bret Easton Ellis, Tama Janowitz, and McInerney. Other associated authors included Donna Tartt, Susan Minot, Peter Farrelly, Mark Lindquist, Peter J. Smith, and Mary Robison.
  5. ^ Nack, William, & Munson, Lester, Sports Illustrated (1992-11-16). "Blood Money: In the rich, clubby world of horsemen, some greedy owners have hired killers to murder their animals for the insurance payoffs". CNN. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
  6. ^ Brinbaum, Robert, The Morning News (2006-01-19). "Birnbaum v. Bret Easton Ellis". Retrieved 2007-02-25.
  7. ^ Barber, Lynn, The Observer (September 10, 2000) Interview: Jay McInerney "The beautiful and the damned"
  8. ^ Short stories unless otherwise noted.
  9. ^ Online version is titled "Jay McInerney's middle–aged malaise".
  10. ^ Karin Ek (24 July 2015). "BBC Sincerely F Scott Fitzgerald". Retrieved 21 January 2018 – via YouTube.

External links[]