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Model Behavior Paperback – March 14, 2000


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Model Behavior + The Last of the Savages + Story of My Life
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Contemporaries Ed edition (March 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679749535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679749530
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Readers familiar with Jay McInerney's Bright Lights Big City may feel a sense of déjà vu when reading Model Behavior. Once again our hero is a small cog in the glamorous Manhattan media machine. Yet although the players may look the same, the rules of the game have changed--their ambitions and expectations are not the same as they were a decade or more ago. Connor McKnight is not brought low by drugs and other symbols of 1980s-style excess; instead, his relationship is destroyed by premillennial ennui and the numbing effects of his career as a celebrity journalist (celebrity being to the '90s what cocaine was to the '80s). The fact that all these shiny happy people really aren't happy at all is hardly news, but McInerney is both a chronicler and a satirist of this glitzy corner of the world, and his astute wit saves the novel from being as shallow as its subjects. This is not poisonous satire à la Martin Amis but a more affectionate (yet equally effective) mocking of modern pretensions, such as P.G. Wodehouse in Hugo Boss. McInerney's comic timing is best demonstrated in one of the longest scenes, a Thanksgiving dinner that ends in chaos when Connor's father exposes himself to the turkey-munching patrons of a tony Manhattan eatery. While the author's sixth book may not be very far removed from his first, that isn't necessarily a criticism. Like a botanist who studies only pondweed, McInerney has narrowed his focus to perfect it. Model Behavior, and the seven stories collected with it, demonstrate that no one else can render this peculiar little social set as accurately, or as artfully as McInerney. --Simon Leake --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The protagonists of these witty stories tend to be outsiders, never quite at home in their seemingly glamorous milieus: a young New York movie reviewer who hopes to sell screenplays in Hollywood; a famous actor who visits his wife at a mental institution; an aspiring writer who becomes a crackhead and lives among Manhattan's transvestite hookers. Connor McKnight, the hero of the first-person novel from which the collection takes its title, is no exception to this rule. He abandons his study of Zen and Japanese literature to write for a celebrity magazine in Manhattan and live with a model. At the same time, his best friend, Jeremy Green, a brooding, self-consciously Jewish short-story writer, becomes an unwilling socialite and fears jeopardizing his artistic reputation. Always scrupulous in demonstrating the comparative in-ness of his out-crowd, McInerney impresses here with his trenchant humor and keen eye for detail, as he vengefully skewers the New York literary scene and other, equally unforgiving cliques. (In a typical exchange, Jeremy asks whether Christopher Lehmann-Haupt is Jewish, then complains, "What's-her-fucking-name hates everybody except Anne fucking Tyler and Amy fucking Tan. I don't stand a chance. Wrong initials, wrong sex.") Although the novel ends abruptly and the seven stories, which span McInerny's career, seem tacked on, there is no question but that the aging 1980s wunderkind follows the scene of his early glory (Bright Lights, Big City) with a more savage, jaundiced eye. Say what you will, McInerny has few peers in chronicling a certain segment of contemporary society that he loves and hates at the same time.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Jay McInerney is the author of Bright Lights, Big City, Ransom, Story of My Life, Brightness Falls, The Last of the Savages, Model Behaviour, How It Ended and The Good Life. He lives in New York and Nashville.

Customer Reviews

There was no depth in either his characters or his story.
Donald R Schaefer
The very last chapter had a style and wit about it, I just wish the rest of the book had that feel more often.
Robert Wellen
The style of the writing is rivoting, the wit and sentiments warming and light.
Joseph Levens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Paul Maupin on May 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked up McInerney's book on the remainders table at Barnes & Noble for a modest price. Little did I know I would be purchasing a rarity in current fiction: A very good and readable book. I literally had trouble putting it down and I never have that problem. 'Model' follows the exploits of Connor McKnight, an emotionally stunted alcoholic with an anorexic sister fixated on third-world suffering, a model girlfriend who may or may not have left him and a crappy job at a fashion mag he hates. Throw into the mix a brooding writer-best friend with a huge chip on his shoulder, a Chip with a huge ego, a stripper/wannabe-actress/train wreck love interest/unattainable goal named Pallas and many other, well conceived and executed characters and what you get is a very convincing voyeuristic view of a down-and-out man that is searching for something no one can seem to find, let alone the writer's protagonist. Did I fail to mention the ongoing Japanese cultural lessons throughout the work? Or the kidnapped and ransomed pet dog? What about the acidic, plastic she-demon boss? No? Well, you'll just have to buy the book and find out for yourself because Model Behavior is a real treat to read and no review could do the mix-mash of personalities and situations justice. McInerney is a very witty writer with a penchant for poking fun at the person you can expect him to be in real life, which makes the reading even more pleasurable. The book has a weird flow that at first is distracting, but works well once one gets used to the pacing. Please, do consider this book. It will have you laughing, commiserating and wishing it would have been a couple hundred pages longer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wellen on March 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many of the reviewers compare this to Bright Lights, Big City, but I only saw the movie. And this book, like the movie, was mediocore. There are indeed some hilarious and well observed moments--I won't dispute that McInerney is a talented word smith--and those are numerous (the thanksgiving dinner, the very last chapter, etc). But this book never quite feels like a story--more odd observations and bizarre plot twists. The email stalker? Why? The best satires also tell a good story, this one fails at times. As the old saying goes, There is no "there" there. As it attempts to prove how shallow the world is (was in the late 1990s), it is victim of its own shallowness. I was really disappointed. Several reviews here adore it, but not me. The author even attempts to mock himself the book. He attempts to make fun of literary critics who have trashed him--he metions himself in a review of the fictional Jeremy Green's book. It was supposed to be funny I guess, but it struck me as too much. The very last chapter had a style and wit about it, I just wish the rest of the book had that feel more often. In the end, it was just sort of blah--like the white t-shirt on the cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "boysjeep" on July 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is basically a 90's version of Bright Lights, Big City. Again, we have the protagonist who's trying to realize big dreams but lacks the determination to make them come true, and we also have the used-to-be-sweet-and-is-now-a-cold model wife. Furthermore, the style of writing, which seemed hip and clever when I read Bright Lights at age 17, now seems tedious and too-clever-for-its-own-good at age 30. I'm not sure if this is because I'm now older or if perhaps Bright Lights' style has been imitated so much that it's now almost a cliche.
The only part of the book that really came alive was the dinner scene at the restaurant when the hero's father has a tantrum at the table and drops his pants. It showed just what a good writer McInerney can be, and unfortunately it showed just how mediocre the rest of the book is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julia Gordon on March 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I just had to go back and read the Amazon reviews on "Model Behavior: A Novel and 7 Stories" after having finished the book this weekend. Like all good stories, the novel sticks in your head and plays with your memories for days afterward. It's written in a lively, original style and I was lacking for nothing except, occasionally a dictionary! (What a vocabulary!) Out of the seven short stories following, I especially enjoyed "The Business," which, like all McInerney's best work, is smart, funny, and surprising. Read it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Levens on April 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
I absolutely adored the author's "Philomena" story when it appeared in The New Yorker years ago, and I was so happy to read this more elaborate version. The style of the writing is rivoting, the wit and sentiments warming and light. There should be more in the marketplace like this; less drama and violence that will never reach you and me. This story captures a city-goer who has shared experiences most of us have, and talks about them in ways we should all appreciate. This and "Story of My Life" are my favorite works from McInerney, and I hope to read more of him in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yasmin H. McEwen on November 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's not easy to create heartbreak, humor, and social criticism all in one take; Jay does.
Uber hip novella about a writer and his model turned actress girlfriend. The most interesting thing about this story is the clever writing. A real treat and worth a cozy read. The story clips along at an energetic hip hop beat. Superb headers and quality comic scenarios abound. The parents really take the cake. The brother and sister relationship is touching and I was especially fond of Brooke. The adventure follows from the very beginning of a most common New York existence of the somewhere in between Upper Crust and trying to hang on to fame with everything you've got to the unraveling and then the attaining of 15 minutes of fame and more through obtuse dramatic exacerbated heartache and sheer folly. Loved it! -- then I made the mistake of expecting more brilliance in the short stories that followed - - not so brilliant. Oh well, they can't all be little rock stars, or in this case supermodels. Concerning the short stories: it was the expectations that killed me. Lower the bar just a bit and the stories are worth a coffee shop read. Reading time: 2 1/2 hours max. Now that's hip, cool and worth it. And you don't come away all teary eyed and contemplative.
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