Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney

A Review by New Pop Lit

bright precious days Jay Mc

Dinosaurs! All dinosaurs.

In style, the well-hyped “big” lit novels from Big Publishing in New York are dinosaurs. Just as surely as were the long, tank-like automobiles of the 1950’s. Cruising leisurely along with giant fins gleaming. A display of waste and ornament.

BRIGHT, PRECIOUS DAYS by Jay McInerney is the dinosaur novel in question. Not a bad novel, if you can stick with it. Tale of a publishing Insider caught in domestic crises involving bimbos and billionaires. Overpriced wine, food, and drugs. Hard-cover version sold last year for $27.95. Lavish coverage by New York print media. Swanky release party in the Hamptons. Not a ripple in the greater culture. In 1959 when big dinosaur novels were the thing, it would’ve been a best seller.

Much of McInerney’s writing style– the standard literary style for decades– is ornament. Long paragraphs of useless description or rumination. Waste. In his long and successful career Jay Mac never realized the more description he gives of a room, the less clearly the reader sees it. T.M.I. You could cut out half the verbiage. It’d be a better read and sell for half the price.

THE INCREDIBLY SHRINKING LITERARY WORLD

Jay McInerney writes for an audience which no longer exists. Today, even the leisure class has no leisure time. In reality, he writes for book reviewers at newspapers– entities which are themselves vanishing.

Obsolescence– provided by the bloated bureaucracies of the New York book conglomerates.

Even the book’s concept is from another era. McInerney’s long-ago first novel had a style which grabbed the reader’s attention. He’s forgotten why that hit novel was a hit. In the 1980’s Jay McInerney was the literary future. Today he, his book, its artistic premises– the conglomerate agent editors entire edifice which produced it– are the quickly vanishing past.

***

Jay_McInerney_2014

(Photo of Jay McInerney.)

Lone Crusader by Samuel Stevens

lone crusader cover

A Review by New Pop Lit

A young American writer of the 1930’s, like many of his compatriots, enlists to fight in the Spanish Civil War– for the other side!

Far Left and Far Right duke it out for truth and justice, hypocrisy or evil, with layers of ideological choices between them. Is Stevens writing about events in 1937– or 2017? His novel is aggressively timely.

LONE CRUSADER tells the story of Adam Wolfe, an idealistic Roman Catholic college student who travels to Spain to do good– or to find himself. Along the way he discovers romance and adventure. A lot of it– Lone Crusader is action-packed, with clear style and relentless pace.

Halfway through, new FBI man Mike Barnes is sent to find Adam. Does he? For the results, you’ll have to read the book.

Pulp noir with ideas. Samuel Stevens is part of a wave of new writers publishing across a variety of lit sites which present alternatives to predictable status quo writing and thinking. Stevens will only get better. Read him early.

***

Lone Crusader is available HERE.

Sam Stevens for Interview

(Photo of Samuel Stevens.)

The Spoilers by Rex Beach

Spoilers book cover

A Review by New Pop Lit.

When men were men and women were gorgeous– The Spoilers is classic populist storytelling courtesy of Rex Beach, whose popularity at the turn of a century (1905) was exceeded only by that of fellow adventurer Jack London.

In that period American literature was vigorous and thoroughly American– not a copy of stuffy European drawing rooms.

THE SPOILERS: A good girl named Helen and a bad girl named Cherry. The “good” girl may or may not be in league with the bad guys. As to men there’s a politically incorrect roughneck, and a slick villain who everyone thinks is good. . . . Also a mystery man lurking around the edges named the Bronco Kid.

Who’s really bad and who’s good? More importantly, who ends up with whom? Who gets the girl? Which girl?

The melodrama is set in virgin Alaska during the gold rush. On every page is the feel of crisp air and vast landscape. It’s fabulous storytelling, a fun read leading to a famous climax.

rex beach

(Photo of Rex Beach.)