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How It Ended: New and Collected Stories de…
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How It Ended: New and Collected Stories (2000)

de Jay Mcinerney

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328859,700 (3.51)2
Jay McInerney's characters include a young woman holed up in a remote cabin while her married boyfriend campaigns for the highest of all offices, a family celebrating the holidays while mired in loss year after year, a couple whose experiments in sexuality cross every line imaginable, an actor visiting his wife in rehab, a doctor treating a variety of convicts and his own criminal past, and a young socialite who is called home to nurse her mother, as well as Russell and Corinne Calloway, who featured in Jay's novels Brightness Falls and The Good Life.… (mais)
Membro:BettyPrail
Título:How It Ended: New and Collected Stories
Autores:Jay Mcinerney
Informação:Knopf (no date), Hardcover, 288 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:***
Etiquetas:English, fiction

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How It Ended: New and Collected Stories de Jay McInerney (2000)

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For a quarter-century now, Jay McInerney has been telling fundamentally the same story: Innocent newcomer to the neon jungle gains the world -- or at least a book contract, a bespoke suit and a gorgeous girlfriend -- only to lose his soul. "How It Ended" presents a dozen amusing but ultimately self-indulgent variations on that theme. The short story is perhaps not the best display case for McInerney's gifts. His characters need narrative time for their world-weary carapaces to crack, revealing hidden depths and vulnerabilities; in the shorter format, their sardonic defense mechanisms come across as shallow and bitchy. (From the WASHINGTON POST, July 8, 2009) ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
Third Party is a wonderful depiction of what I believe is called ‘Imaginary Audience Syndrome’:

‘He imagined the passersby speculating about his private sorrow as he stood on the Pont des Arts, mysterious, wet and unapproachable. His sense of loss seemed more real when he imagined himself through the eyes of strangers.’

‘[The maître d] led him to a small but highly visible set for four.’

‘Feeling self-conscious in his solitutde, he studied the menu and wondered why he’d never brought Lydia to Paris. He regretted it now, for her sake as well as his own; the pleasures of travel were less real to him when they couldn’t be verified by a witness.’

This narcissistic tendency eventually gets the protagonist into trouble, when his taxi driver crashes after being distracted, because he is watching the protagonist get a blow job in the back seat. So I suppose this story is about the dangers of imagining yourself only as others might imagine you.

The next story is called Simple Gifts, in which readers may reflect that for a drug addict, a Christmas gift can be as simple as being clean, and therefore free.

My Public Service is the fictional memoir of a public servant whose job it was to find women for the Senator to have sex with. (I kept imagining Mr Smithers.)

A clue to one of the big ideas of this story might be found in the first paragraph: ‘The quest for power can be the search for love’

But actually I think the following sentence is the more interesting metaphor: ‘In a democracy, seduction replaces rape.’

Everything changes one night when the Senator , and also the first person protagonist, meets a famous actress who offers up an unintended epiphany.

The Business is a pessimistic (realist?) account of screenwriting in Hollywood, and because it’s about writing, I wonder how much of it is autobiographical. I suppose readers often wonder that when writers write about writing.

Reading Con Doctor, it took me a while to work out that the protagonist is a doctor working in a men’s prison; either a slow reveal or I’m slow on the uptake. I was busy trying to work out if this is a book full of stories about breast obsessed men or if all the descriptions of female breasts, in this story at least, have real significance. Here’s the best I can come up with: The breast implants of the doctor’s wife symbolise a ‘burst’, foreshadowing the doc’s final burst bubble. Right beforehand:

…he feels the rush that every doctor knows, a taste of the old godlike sense of commanding the forces of life and death. This truly is the best buzz, but he could never quite believe it, or feel that he deserved it…

Note that when the doc first meets his large-breasted wife she tells him they are ‘not silicone’, therefore planting the idea in the reader of ‘silicone breast implants’ and all the problems they caused from bursting and leaking.

Smoke had me feeling grateful that I never took up smoking, because this guy makes quitting sound dreadful. It also has me wondering if ‘finding women hyper-alluring’ is a common side effect of nicotine withdrawal, or if it was made up for the purposes of this story. I assume this is the night he finally did give up smoking for real, guilted into quitting.

I had to read Getting In Touch With Lonnie twice and skim read parts of it yet another time to begin to get an idea of what that last paragraph might mean. I conclude that this is a story about a man who is one step away from rehab himself, with Lonnie being his drug dealer, and the epiphany of Jared’s own demise coming at that exact point, foreshadowed by the taxi driver assuming Jared was admitting himself rather than visiting his ex-wife. Except I don’t really know enough about drugs. I assume drug dealers go by pseudonyms such as ‘Lonnie’ when their real names are Rob.

The story How It Ended doesn’t really make any sense until I look again at the title. Because this convoluted and unlikely tale, from strangers at a resort, is not really about them – this story is about the protagonist and his wife. This is an interesting story because the dialogue tags and body language and reactions say far more than the content of these strangers’ dialogue. It is only by listening to another couple talk about the way they met that the lawyer protagonist realises how much he despises his own wife. I wonder why this is the title of the collection. Who decides these things? Is this the author’s favourite story? The publisher’s? The most marketable of all the individual story titles? Is it the most marketable, the most alluring, or perhaps the title that best sums up the theme which joins this collection together? Now that I think about it, each of these stories is about an ending of sorts, especially if you use your own imagination to fill in the events that happen after the events in the stories.

The Queen and I paints a vivid picture of an urban redlight district, so that by the time the main action happens (revealed in the copy on the back cover of the paperback) it comes as a bit of a shock. There are a few things I don’t understand about this story: What is the ‘salt’ that Marilyn slept on, and why did this particular night signal the end of the protagonist’s career as a pimp? I’m guessing that the pimp is in love with Marilyn himself, hinted at by the scene in which he comforts Marilyn, when ‘from a distance’ they would ‘look just like any ordinary couple’. A more reliable narrator would have made his feelings clear.

By the time I got to The Reunion, the last story of this collection, I was waiting for the description of female breasts, in a Where’s Wally kind of way. Impressed at the writerly skill exhibited in this collection, I’m almost annoyed by this stage about the female characters – sexual accessories in every single one. In this story we have a larger cast of females, and again, they only exist in relation to men:

Mary, the youngest, still lives at home and mostly is into cars and boys. I’m not sure whether she likes the boys because they have cars, or the cars because the boys have them.

I know, I know; this is the narrative voice, not the voice of the author, but I’m getting annoyed at the author. These are good stories, but the inability to empathise with another gender to the point where you can write from another point of view must be considered a weakness. I consider it a weakness. That’s not to say that the author doesn’t know exactly what sort of characters he’s painted: Flawed men who go weak around women. They’re all a bit like that. In this story a female character points out, “Doctors have been treating women like children for centuries.” Another says, “A woman should have the right to do whatever she wants with her body.” So after a book full of stories about tits and men, this last story requires the reader to consider feminist issues, through the eyes of an imperfect (creepy) narrator who says thinks like,

The sisters fall silent, both bouncing lightly on the bed…the resemblance of the two sisters lying on the bed is eerie and exciting: They seem to lend each other beauty, their juxtaposition creating a context for appreciation.

And then we have it:

Bunny, who has come back down, presses close enough for me to feel her breasts as she kisses me.

Next:

After she takes off her shirt, Tory points to the small protuberance on her left side. It is the size of a BB, only slightly darker than the surrounding skin…’It’s what they call an auxiliary nipple. A devil’s teat. Proof that I’ve been suckling demons.’

What does it mean? Something, no doubt. But now I’m tired, because there we have it, an alternative title for this collection: The Book Of Bastards and Breasts. ( )
  LynleyS | Feb 9, 2014 |
A terrific collection of short stories by a real master of the form. It's a bit of a history lesson/writing lesson - you get to see the stories that would later become [b:Bright Lights Big City|86147|Bright Lights, Big City|Jay McInerney|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1223018233s/86147.jpg|144128] and [b:Story Of My Life|821611|The Story of My Life (Bantam Classic)|Helen Keller|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1178681160s/821611.jpg|1602613] - but it's also just a lesson in the form. His preface talks about the form of short stories and he just nails it, even with the stories that are more dead weight that interesting.

There are only a few of those dead weight stories, you'll be happy to know, and most of them are absolutely brilliant. I'm not sure I can recall another short story collection where I felt entirely satisfied at the end of each story.

Plus, did you know that Alison Poole = Rielle Hunter? I KNOW, right?!

Anyway, an excellent collection for an early autumn weekend. I ramble on more about it, at some length, at Raging Biblioholism: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-h7 ( )
  drewsof | Jul 10, 2013 |
This is my first exposure to Jay McInerney, and I was pleasantly surprised at the variety in this collection of stories. So often collected stories tend to be the same thing over and over, but McInerney did a great job with presenting relationship stories without all of them sounding the same. There was plenty of sex, drugs and funky behavior. I was surprised at how well he used women's POV.

Ray Porter's narration is amazing!! He actually has more than one voice for women! And his men sounded different without using accents. I will definitely be looking for more of his work. ( )
  bohemiangirl35 | Jun 15, 2013 |
OK, so here's one of my guilty literary pleasures. I absolutely love me some Jay McInerney. I adore the guy and his writing, and have for quite some time. But here's the thing about me and McInerney: as much as I hate to admit it, I've come to the conclusion that I can only take him in smallish doses, and How It Ended: New and Collected Stories confirms that theory. This is not a collection of stories that is meant to be read straight through, as I did over the New Years weekend. (Especially over such a weekend made for debauchery such as New Years.)

By page 110 or so of this collection of stories, I felt like I needed to check myself into the likes of the Betty Ford Clinic because I was feeling in needed of a detox. The coke! The parties! The beautiful people! The affairs! New York! It's all here, and it's the stuff that Jay McInerney's stories are made of (and why I love him so).

Escaping into a McInerney book is like spending an evening in the company of that friend of yours who is living la vida loca - you know, the one who goes to all the great concerts and all the cool parties, the One Who Has A Life while you're in your PJs by 7 p.m. It's fun, in a way, to live vicariously through such people, which again, is why these stories are good but just not read back to back.

The characters in these stories are, for the most part, gorgeous and rich and incredibly lonely and sad. They're adulterers. They're living in the aftermath of the 80s and 9/11. Several make re-appearances from their starring roles in other McInerney novels (notably, Russell and Corrine Calloway from Brightness Falls and Alison from Story of My Life).

How It Ended is comprised of 26 stories. In my opinion, among the best are:

"The Madonna of Turkey Season" about a family struggling to celebrate the holidays each year after the passing of their mother;
"Sleeping with Pigs", a brilliant story about a woman's fetish for sleeping with a pig and how that is connected with her grieving her deceased brother;
"My Public Service," about an idealistic staffer on a political campaign who quickly becomes jaded;
"The Queen and I," about the enduring spirit of friendship over family;
"Con Doctor," about a doctor in a prison who can't come to terms with his own past;
"I Love You, Honey," about the lengths one will go for revenge and possessiveness, and
"Getting in Touch with Lonnie," where a celebrity gets a surprise when visiting his wife in a rehab clinic.
( )
  bettyandboo | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Jay McInerney's characters include a young woman holed up in a remote cabin while her married boyfriend campaigns for the highest of all offices, a family celebrating the holidays while mired in loss year after year, a couple whose experiments in sexuality cross every line imaginable, an actor visiting his wife in rehab, a doctor treating a variety of convicts and his own criminal past, and a young socialite who is called home to nurse her mother, as well as Russell and Corinne Calloway, who featured in Jay's novels Brightness Falls and The Good Life.

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