A long-lost short story by Jay McInerney, stolen from the author’s apartment about twenty years ago and recently returned, will be published next week on the Web site FiveChapters.com. The story, entitled "If Wishes Were Porsches," will be serialized over the course of the work week, starting next Monday October 22, with a new installment appearing every morning.
Mr. McInerney could not be reached for comment this afternoon, but according to the site’s editor, David Daley, the story was written after the publication of Mr. McInerney’s geisty 1984 debut novel Bright Lights, Big City and before his substantially less geisty follow-up Ransom.
Mr. Daley said that the short story is a "time capsule" of 1980s New York. The plot centers around two characters, he said: Jonathan and Juan, who live next door to each other on the Lower East Side, working jobs they don’t like, arguing with their landlord, and joking around about the Sunday New York Times.
There’s also a brief reference to two characters named Corrine and Russell Calloway, who were at the center of Mr. McInerney’s 1992 novel Brightness Falls and appeared again in last year’s The Good Life.
Mr. Daley, who used to coordinate books coverage for the Hartford Courant and the Westchester Journal News, launched FiveChapters.com almost exactly a year ago; since then, the site has serialized about 50 short stories, including works by Jennifer Egan, Ann Packer, Curtis Sittenfeld, Slate culture editor Meghan O’Rourke, and Believer editor Vendela Vida.
Mr. Daley said he acquired “If Wishes Were Porsches” from Mr. McInerney after sending out an e-mail asking writers for any "lost" material they might have set aside and forgotten or "stashed in a drawer" after cutting from a novel.
It’s currently unclear how the manuscript came to be stolen from Mr. McInerney’s apartment, and under what circumstances it was returned—an update to come as soon as he returns our calls.
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