Reviews in 200 Words

How It Ended: New and Collected Stories by Jay McInerney

In Short Stories on April 16, 2009 at 1:12 am

These stories span from anonymous sex games in the after-hours clubs of Paris, to Kennedy wannabe politicians trying to avoid scandal, to hostage negotiation in war-torn Kabul, but these characters seem connected. Connected the way you pull up a barstool in an out of the way bar about a million miles from the small town you grew up in, only to start up a conversation with the next guy over and discover that you were practically next door neighbors. Jay McInerney prefaces the collection by saying that he studied the art of the short story with Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff: he knows his pedigree. These stories are familiar, but not because you’ve heard them before. They’re full of cigarettes and cocktails: urges and addiction, danger and relief. They’re full of sad realities: a widow with Alzheimer’s at the Belle Meade country club, a clam bake for restaurant waiters who want desperately to be writers or artists, but will never make it. McInerney will change the way you think about the short story: he might also change the way you think about loneliness, and love.

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