My sister (the lovely wife of the previously-mentioned Kevin Cruikshank) graciously and unexpectedly sent me a copy of Jay McInerney's new 9/11-themed novel, The Good Life. Since I can honestly say that I enjoyed even Ransom and Story of My Life, I'm probably not the most reliable critic of his work, but for what it's worth, I'm enjoying The Good Life thus far.
I don't generally make a habit of reading the "early acclaim" blurbs, which publishers seem to think induce people to buy their books. I for one doubt that these blurbs are persuasive to anyone; most people probably see these as just the literary equivalent of dogs sniffing each others' behinds. This time, though, a couple caught my eye. The first, calling the book "A very subtle, incredibly insightful, heartbreaking story about life in New York", was from James Frey, a leading authority on fiction. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that in future printings of the book, Frey's comment will not make the cut.
The second was by Keir Graff, who writes for Booklist, a review magazine published by the American Library Association. Quoted on the book jacket, Graff says about 9/11 that "A day that most people said would change us all forever seems now to have provided only a vacation from our bad habits". I've heard much debate about whether the changes in our society's laws, foreign policy, and general outlook since 9/11 are good or bad, but rarely have I heard someone say that no fundamental changes have occurred. Although Graff's comment strikes me as one of those provocative statements meant to tweak one's political opponents and elicit an "amen" from one's own choir, I'm at a loss to say where on the political spectrum his choir might be. Regardless their views about it, both the left and the right in America recognize profound change when they see it; it seems, however, that there's some neverland out there where things are the same now as they were on 9/10.
Many days, I wish I lived there.