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8 April, 2004

Review: 'Model Behaviour' (Jay McInerney, 1998)

I may be the wrong person to review this book.  Returning from Wales on Tuesday, I faced a two hour train journey with nothing to read, so my mother lent me whatever she happened to have in the house.  If I'd seen 'Model Behaviour' in a bookshop, I wouldn't have given it a second glance, but it's good to try something different occasionally.

I'm not criticising the quality of the writing; the prose read well without being either pretentious or simplistic, and the characterisations were okay. The problem was that the story describes an incestuous world that I neither occupy nor aspire to: the fashion industry (fashion design itself interests me, but not the people and lifestyle), style magazines, cliquey 'beautiful people' and indeed New York (sorry: Manhattan) itself. The locations and character motivations meant little to me; as good a satire as this may be, I have a limited understanding of what was being satirised.

I couldn't call this a failing of the book or author, but to gain the most from McInerney's apparent disdain for this world of empty celebrity, one has to have some knowledge or interest in it, whereas those of us who are genuinely uninterested in the world will have limited appreciation of the book.

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