Bright Lights, Big, Buttery Chardonnay

After the days of Bolivian Marching Powder, Jay McInerney started drinking wine. Then he started writing about wine, got a column about wine (House & Garden magazine), wrote two books of essays about wine (Bacchus & Me, A Hedonist in the Cellar), and became an all-around connoisseur. Now you know what he was doing when you were ignoring all the fiction he wrote after Bright Lights, Big City. Although he appears tonight in conversation with Julia Flynn Siler, author of The House of Mondavi, to talk, sometimes incomprehensibly, about fruit-forward vintages and oaky this and that, don’t be surprised when the discussion veers. He has a new book of stories out, and guess what? He’s back, in a career-redefining way. At least, according to Janet Maslin of The New York Times, who writes, sort of grumpily, “He has quietly achieved the literary stature to which he once so noisily laid claim.” How It Ended features 26 short stories written over the past 26 years; it also features the return of his party-girl character Alison Poole, aka the real party girl Rielle Hunter, whom Brett Easton Ellis borrowed for a few books in the ’90s and John Edwards borrowed for a career-ending affair during the 2008 presidential campaign. Mirroring recent events, McInerney neatly puts his character to work for an Edwardsian candidate, erecting another fun-house mirror on his long journey as a writer.
Thu., April 23, noon, 2009

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