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Model Behaviour

Jay McInerney

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Bloomsbury

Published : 1998

Copyright : Jay McInerney 1998

ISBN-10 : HB 0-7475-3962-6
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-7475-3962-9

Publisher's Write-Up

"I'm sick of all this pointless glamour," his glamorous girlfriend said. "I want a simple life." If only Connor McNab had listened. Now Philomena is off to California, allegedly on a fashion shoot, but he doesn't know where she is staying and a sinking feeling tells him that she might never come back. Connor's friend Jeremy Green is no help: he is the 'famous short-story writer' (which they both agree is an oxymoron) with an imminent publication date and some people holding his dog to ransom for reasons too Machiavellian to blurb. Connor's sister Brook, genius mathematician and anorexic, is too busy anguishing over Rwanda and Bosnia. His editor at Ciao Bella is only concerned about the suddenly elusive celebrity of the month. Thanks goodness for Pallas, a knock-out table dancer with a heart of gold.

'A fast-paced, funny tale of true love gone wrong, full of McInerney's wit and style.'


'A comedy of dysfunction, a satire on a world in which Narcissus is God. Yet, beneath its running gags and scathing one-liners, there lies a more urgent critique of America's vain glory.'

Daily Express

'Readable yet complex - and with more witty one-liners than you can shake a stick at.'

Daily Mirror
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Ben Macnair (310316) Rating (7/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 7/10
Conor is a struggling writer in 1990’s New York. He has an enviable life, a model girlfriend, writes well received articles for well-received magazines, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

His friends include the reclusive, but championed short-story writer Jeremy Green whose own story is something of a novel in its own right. Brook, Conor’s sister is too busy caring about the rest of the world, that she cannot see her own life falling apart around here, whilst Conor’s Parents offer concerned support.

Model Behaviour is one of those novels which looks at the human condition, from the perspective of a privileged central character, whose own character traits will be the undoing of life, rather than the people. Throughout the short chapters, we learn much about Connor, but he doesn’t reveal too much of his life, he seems to be more of an observer than a central character, but that approach doesn’t detract from the quality of writing or story-telling that made McInerney’s name and reputation. Indeed, some of the chapters are written in the third person, whilst others are told in the first.

The use of real characters in the novel, from Matthew Broderick, to any number of the pop stars that Conor writes about for magazines such as Ciao Bello help to add both glamour, and reality, as well as grounding the novel in a certain time and place.

The book is both witty, and full of pathos. Conor has it all, or on the surface at least, does, even though as the story-line develops, he loses what he used to have. The ending of the book is stylistically believable, and also inevitable. Even successful people in a busy city like New York have to learn some things, some times.
Ben Macnair (31st March 2016)

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