>If you only read one collection of contemporary short stories this year, How It Ended is a great bet.
Jay McInerney’s first novel, Bright Lights, Big City, came to embody the frenzied, cocaine-fueled excesses of New York’s young and hip of the 1980s, although the book’s reputation largely ignores the serious soul of the book.
How It Ended, the author’s newly released collection of short stories, zigs and zags through the author’s 26-year writing career, including stories in which characters from some of his novels first appeared. The jaded, jangly narrator of Bright Lights, Big City first appeared in the story, It’s Six A.M. Do You Know Where You Are?, which opens the collection.
The audio version of How It Ended, read by Ray Porter, is done so well that as soon as the last story ended I wanted to listen to it all over again from the beginning. Skip this book if you have no patience for flawed young people, but if you want to hear some good writing read aloud – especially if you came of age in the 80s and don’t mind some “dirty bits” – you need to listen to this amazing collection.
Even if you think you don’t like short stories.
The New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin has somewhat grudgingly said it best:
Mr. McInerney was a callow, facile and extremely entertaining writer from the very first. He had a smart student’s command of technical virtues and an eagerness to show them off. He also had such a tiresome infatuation with 1980s-style decadence that it lingers sentimentally even now. But his stories have grown more elegant, subtle, shapely and reflective over time, to the point where some of the recent works are perfect specimens.He has quietly achieved the literary stature to which he once so noisily laid claim.
Listen to a short sample at www.blackstoneaudio.com.