You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time in the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.-- Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney p. 1
With that one simple passage my life changed. I'd read other books before, and read others since. But those words crackled off the page with an energy and vigor. Initially recommended by a Creative Writing professor when I was a sophomore in college, I signed the book out of the library and read... then read again a few years later, and probably at least two or three more times since then.
While I couldn't necessarily relate to the main character, the style of writing was fresh, it was different, exciting. The book spawned a movie and even a Broadway musical.
I've read most of McInerney's works since then... some might argue he was to the eighties what F. Scott Fitzgerald had been to the Roaring Twenties... the voice of a generation. And as good as some of his other books are, he unfortunately never matched the brilliance of Bright Lights, Big City. They didn't have that original voice (although Story of My Life came close-- a similar tale but from the perspective of a woman instead of man).
No matter how many times I read the novel it still feels fresh to me as I've never read a book quite like it, I'm not sure I ever will.