The debonair ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ author is more the country gent now, but his powers with the word have never been keener. Pour yourself a 79 Krug Clos du Mesnil, ’71 La Tache, and stay for a while.
The critics were precise, most notably The New York Times: With this year’s How It Ended: New and Collected Stories (Knopf), ex-literary brat packer Jay McInerney showed he could spar with the likes of Carver and Fitzgerald, and not simply rest on his once-unsung literary laurels. And his last novel, The Good Life, only confirmed his story-telling talents further. (Ash heaps, as New Yorkers know, weren’t prominent solely in The Great Gatsby.) Now a wine columnist for The Wall Street Journal-and living himself “the good life”-McInerney is, as Al Pacino once said, “just getting started!” But it doesn’t mean he’s lost his wry sense of humor or taste for the unattainable.
ROOM 100: Name your poison, and why?
JAY McINERNEY: This week it’s Grace Kelly in Rear Window. I’m a downtown guy, but I’ve always had a thing for uptown girls, and she is the ne plus ultra of that species (with the exception of my wife, of course). Any girl who comes over with a bottle of Montrachet and a lobster dinner from ’21’ Club is welcome at my apartment, especially when she also brings a filmy nightgown designed by Edith head and high-heeled slippers.
What makes you happier than anything?
Something that usually, though by no means always, takes place in bed.
What’s your “stripper’s name”? Take the name of your first pet as your first name and your first street name as your last?
Describe what your “last meal” would consist of, from appetizer to dessert, and drink of choice.
Ideally my last meal would take place at El Bulli, Ferran Adria’s restaurant north of Barcelona, overlooking the beach at Cala Montjoi. Among the 35 courses would be his deconstructed martini and his suckling pig roll. The wines would include 79 Krug Clos du Mesnil, ’71 La Tache, 55 La Mission Haut Brion, and ’67 Yquem. I plan to really drag this thing out.
If you could purchase anything today, what would it be? Describe.
It would be the first edition of Tender is the Night, inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald to Dorothy Parker, which a certain book dealer of my acquaintance has stashed away. Although that Ferrari Italia looks pretty irresistible, too.
Where does your ultimate road trip take you?
When I graduated from college I took a three-month road trip across country, starting in Williamstown, Mass., meandering as far north as Minneapolis and as far south as New Orleans, in the company of my best friend and what would become my future editor, Gary Fisketjon. I’d like to do it again, only this time in the Ferrari Italia.
If you could spend an evening with one of these famous recluses-Harper Lee, Greto Garbo, or J.D. Salinger — which would it be?
Garbo, naturally. Talk is overrated.
If you knew that the world was ending soon, where would you go, and what cherished item would you take with you?
If I knew the world was ending soon I’d head for Paris, along with my French bulldog, Coco.