Books: A Man of His Time

Jay McInerney's Model Behavior depicts a '90s New York nightlife that looks awfully familiar

The Zeitgeist is all in how you look at it. So for Jay McInerney, who spends his time canoodling at New York City parties, cavorting in the Hamptons and consuming media, it's all about models. And sure, models are big, no doubt. But McInerney is looking at the '90s through an '80s lens. Reading him is like listening to a ham-radio operator explain e-mail.

The title novella in McInerney's new book, Model Behavior (Knopf; 275 pages; $24), does make some good jokes about our increasing desire to kowtow to celebrities. Having interviewed a slew of them for magazines, and having been...

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