The 25 Best New York City Novels

25. Bright Lights, Big City (1984)

Author: Jay McInerney
Areas Featured: Times Square, SoHo

You wish you were like the protagonist of Jay McInerney's breezy debut, one of the only novels written in the second-person to gain a spot in the canon. When your creative writing instructor first assigned Bright Lights, Big City, you hesitantly dipped in, wary because of the shitty Michael J. Fox movie spawned from its pages. But soon you were greedily devouring the novel. It was like you'd done a few bumps of Bolivian Marching Powder. Suddenly, the future was clear: You would move to New York, land a job that would be fun to hate—fact checking at The New Yorker, say—and spiral out of control beautifully. And for art! And then you'd eat bread and everything would be fine! If Patrick Bateman didn't murder you first... —RS

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