Jun 15, 2010

Bret Easton Ellis: Once More, With Feeling

"Alienation. The sweet sound of excess. A generation caught checking out their reflections in each other’s mirror shades. Such have been the themes if Ellis’s career, going back to his 1985 debut, Less Than Zero, which turned him into a literary star at the age of 22. His new book, Imperial Bedrooms, a sequel to that work, catches up with his cast of jaded Los Angelinos some 30 years later to find them still a little sore at their depiction as inarticulate zombies: “[the writer] floated through our lives, and didn’t seem to care how flatly he perceived everyone... showcasing the youthful indifference, the gleaming nihilism, glamorising the horror of it all.” The book has it’s share of horror, not least a series of gangland slayings, but then dead bodies are to a Bret Easton Ellis novel what Aspidistras are to a George Orwell novel: part of the scenery. More noticeable is the misting of melancholy that enshrouds LA’s billboards and boulevards, and the mysterious crying jags that steal over its hero. “Doesn’t sound like you,” says someone going over his emails. “I mean you could be a cold dude sometimes, but these are actually rather heartfelt and sad.” Feelings? In a novel by Bret Easton Ellis? Whatever will his fans say." — from my interview with Bret Easton Ellis in the Sunday Times

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