Christopher Bollen’s Summer Storms

Last September, Interview‘s Editor at Large Christopher Bollen released his debut novel, Lightning People, the story of a newly married couple—actor Joseph and Delphine, who works at the Bronx Zoo—plus Delphine’s closest friend, Madeline, and William, who treads a fine line between being Joseph’s friend and his nemesis. All four main characters grew up far away from the city, but this only makes the city’s role more crucial, and the aesthetics more vivid.

Before the first chapter begins, Bollen introduces a New York skyline torn apart and illuminated by lightning, “like a laser concert and slicing east in white tracers.” It is, perhaps, the perfect reflection of the US’s largest metropolis, the promise of excitement and the possibility of danger that entices the nation’s youth to migrate to the city. “I think that might be one of the themes of Lightning People: going to this city expecting that dream life of freaks and bizarre possibilities only to discover that this city doesn’t really operate that way,” Bollen told fellow novelist Jay McInerney last year.

Bollen’s book is now available in paperback on Amazon with a new cover, pictured above. It’s a more romantic interpretation than the original cover—neon lettering against a stark background, evocative of McInerney’s own most famous novel about the city, Bright Lights, Big City (1984).