I have read all the works of Bret Easton Ellis. Like all of his books, I always need to walk away and think about the book for several days and organize my thoughts before I can write about the one I just read.
The first thing I would say is that if you haven’t read any of Ellis’ work, don’t start with this one because a great deal of the book reference’s earlier works. This is because, although the book is largely fiction, Ellis names the main character Bret Easton Ellis who is a writer and just happens to have written all the books Ellis has written. Sound confusing? It is a bit; especially of you haven’t read any other works by this author.
Ellis also has a style of writing where he focuses on minutiae – lots of name dropping of luxury goods, in depth descriptions of the house where is living and which is in the process of devolving into the childhood home in which he was miserable and where his life began spiraling out of control. There are also sex scenes which are almost always detached and usually the female characters are not depicted in any flattering way.
This book also delves into issues regarding Ellis’ most controversial work “American Psycho”. I happen to have loved that book but it is a hard read, very graphic in its depictions of sex and violence and comes up repeatedly on banned books lists the world over. It is worth the time and effort one puts into it and there is endless debate as to whether the events in the book happened or whether they took place in the mind of the main character. Ellis gives an answer to that question in this book but since its fiction….is it really the answer?
There isn’t a good way to describe the action in this book without giving it away. Let’s say it is about relationships between men and women; growing up or not growing up; relationships between fathers and sons; middle age and mid-life crises; stalking; reality and illusion; Halloween; the supernatural and “American Psycho”.
If you haven’t tried any of Ellis’ work, I urge you to give it a try. Although his two early works, “Less Than Zero” and “The Rules of Attraction” are dated being set squarely in the 1980’s, they are quick reads and a good foundation of his work. To really challenge yourself on mental, psychological and emotional levels, “American Psycho” is worth the investment and will help you in further reading of this authors work.
If you are an Ellis fan already, this book reminded me a bit of “Fight Club” and the movie “Memento”. Then throw in Stephen Kings’ “The Shining” set in the suburbs and add a dash of “Insidious” and “Paranormal Activity” all in Ellis’ unique voice and I think you will have a pretty good idea of what this book must be like.
I found it compelling, disturbing and hard to put down. What more can you ask from a book?