Jay McInerney’s new novel has a famous, perhaps infamous admirer: James Frey.
In an “Amazon.com Exclusive,” the author of the disputed “A Million Little Pieces,” calls McInerney’s “The Good Life” his best since the author’s sensational 1984 debut, “Bright Lights, Big City.” Frey cites McInerney as an influence and likens the novelist to F. Scott Fitzgerald as a gifted writer who has struggled to overcome “huge, almost overwhelming early success.”
Frey, of course, has his own, self-inflicted burdens. After The Smoking Gun alleged numerous fabrications in his million-selling memoir of addiction, including a three-month jail term that apparently never happened, Frey has acknowledged taking “liberties” with his story and is writing an author’s note for future editions.
McInerney, whose other books include “Story of My Life” and “Brightness Falls,” did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press. Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, said, “We hope the 4 million readers who have bought ‘A Million Little Pieces’ and identify with it will appreciate Frey’s judgment.”
An Amazon.com spokeswoman, Kristin Mariani, said Monday that the review was posted in December, before the scandal broke. She called the review “another example of our ongoing efforts to offer customers new, exclusive content to enhance their shopping experience and help them make informed purchase decisions.”
“The Good Life” is the story of two trendy Manhattan couples and how their lives are changed by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Frey praises the novel as “a deeply personal book” and writes that “it feels to me like I’m reading about variations of McInerney’s own life.
“He, like Fitzgerald, is at his best when he’s putting his own experiences into the lives of his characters, and I’ve never felt more of McInerney, or felt more vulnerability, which to me is a sign of strength in a writer.”
Since his interview last week on “Larry King Live,” Frey has been hard to reach. His Web site, http://www.bigjimindustries.com, is temporarily down “because of the enormous amount of traffic it was getting,” according to a message posted on its home page. He recently postponed an appearance he was to make in Toronto at the end of the month.