I had no idea what this was really about and I expected nothing from it. There are not so many instances in my life where I see something that makes mI had no idea what this was really about and I expected nothing from it. There are not so many instances in my life where I see something that makes me wonder at the complexity and talent of the human mind, this book is one of them. Bret is a genuis writer in my mind and I will give more details as to why. First, let me say that I hate horror and I have no need to be scared. This isn't a horror book, it doesn't make you feel any fear. It sickens you and feels you with disgust, but for a very important reason. Before going into what I see as the true story of Bateman, I want to be clear that I understand that this may not be what Bret intended. I am ok with that, because either way I got to think deeply and differently about what looks very crude at surface level, and that is entertaining.
As I am reading I reached a point where things didn't feel right and I kept repeating to myself that, "My Bateman wouldn't do this." Here is Bret, a person that just wrote the most incredible first 3rd of a book. I'm having fun, I'm loving the characters, the complexity is crazy rich, and then he has the Bateman do things completely off character. Bateman wouldn't eat people, he wouldn't kill people without a show of emotion, IT ISNT HIM. It didn't happen. Cut away all the gore, and all the sex scenes that aren't even real, they are literally reels form porn. Images he rolls in his mind of what he believes an extreme heterosexual man would be like.
The Bateman character is these things : -Speaks truth to his friends about societal justice and what it should look like -"Wants .... to.... fit..... in" - Doesn't yell at a doorman specifically because he knows that his life is more miserable than his - Is a giving lover, in the one scene that I think was real - Loves Genesis, Huey Lewis, and Whitney - Constantly tries to connect & get people to truly talk to him - Cries at the Patty Winter Show - Starts sobbing at Random and often - Finds the idea of hiring little people as elves for a Christmas Party to be so disturbing he has to leave, which as a coincidence was also the item I found most subhuman in the book
Bateman has my sympathy from the get go. You can feel his rat like claws scratching at the cage. He is so trapped in something that isn't him, you can feel the pressure.
The Inconsistences that make my mind start to feel uncomfortable: -The sex scenes aren't real, not to mention that no one would be that giving of a lover to women he sees as "nothing" except food -Why does it never describe what he is feeling while he is killing them. -Why would Paul go to his house for a drink @ 2am after going to a secret restaurant for dinner. That makes bonkers sense, unless they are both gay and he was going for sex -Why is Luis so attached when they have basically never really talked -Why did he not kill the cab driver. He LET HIM rob him. No way would that happen, but it would with MY Bateman. If there is supposedly some wanted poster, why did no one else recognize him in all of New York. -How does he know sooooo many men??? Evelyn and others don't know them. -Why are all these women with gay men. Paul & Meredith, Courtney & Luis, Tim & Meredith -Why does Paul owe Meredith money WTF -Bateman is petrified of every openly gay man in the book. It is the only time he is completely blank and fearful. Timid and overwhelmed. That makes no sense. -Who thinks the kinds of things that he thinks unless you analyze yourself. "If I were an actual automaton what difference would there really be?"
ALL of this makes sense if Bateman is a closeted gay man, living in New York, in the 1980's. A very different time, it is easy to forget just how many people had to be closeted and how AIDS was so mixed in with that. I had been thinking that Bateman was either raped as a child or gay from pretty early on in the book. The AIDS thing didn't hit me until the end scene with Evelyn when she mentions the "Silence is Death" slogan and then Bateman is smiling and waving over at Another Random Dude.
So I come back to, "Why did Bret write this out of character shit that isn't really happening?" He wanted you to feel deeply the kind of disgust a human feels for themself when they are having to hide a basic part of themselves and be shamed by it. He wanted you to feel the disgust someone would have for themself for knowingly spreading AIDS, especially when it is because they are too afraid to admit they have it to themselves or to even being gay. He wanted you to also feel the disgust of being someone that knowingly makes the world a more horrible place every day, but is also trapped into the world they were born to. Bateman is a rat in a cage, doing horrible things to survive in the world he can never escape, but it isn't the horrible things that we are lead to believe. It is this that pushed Bret into being a literary genuis in my mind.
I believe when he is killing people, which he describes as a need he can't control any longer, he is having homosexual sex. I believe he had ongoing relationships with multiple men in the book. I believe Paul died of AIDS and that when he went back to Paul's apartment at the end, the realtor wasn't saying "don't make this difficult" because it had been the site of a dozen murders, but because a man had died of AIDS. This was when people still believed you could get it from touching the same surfaces.
Sexual desire, just like the desire for food, shelter, or acceptance can not be controlled for long. There are reasons that people will do things against what they believe is their moral self, in order to have these things. Is Bateman shallow and not the biggest humanitarian, well I guess that all comes down to how you see it. There are those of us that may not be given a lot in material goods, but we have a lot of freedom, and a general need for compassion in order to survive. If you come from a world that never needs to show compassion for others in order to survive, well to show even a glimmer of it is pretty unusual and I would say exceptional. The fact that his actions drive him insane and to tears, well I guess I think he is part of the few that aren't exactly as they are made to be.
In terms of literary critique. The entire book is filled with the wittiest humor and complex character scenes. I love the first sex scene with Courtney, showing just how clumsy and sometimes tragic real sex is. I find Bateman's friends and their discussions to be hillariously filled with absurdity; The horror over not having the best business card, the theory that you can get dyslexia from pussy, obsessions with TV shows, idolation of Donald Trump. My favorite scene in the book is when McDermott tricks Bateman into apologizing for saying Pastel's Pizza was not the best. The scene where his coked up friend runs down the tunnel screaming was a close second. I was laughing out loud through the entire book and I typically only laugh on the inside. The most disturbing scene was the eating of the urinal cake by Evelyn. I made a new Playlist called American Psycho, I think you can guess what is on it.
"If I were to disappear into that crack, say somehow miniaturize and slip into it, the odds are good that no one would notice I was gone. " His problem was not only that he was homosexual, or that he was stuck in the vacant world of Yuppies Are Us New York, but that he felt so much more than what he was allowed. If he could have been more vacant, like Evelyn, then he would have been what we call "mentally ok". Very similar to Tess of the D'ubervilles issues. On that that note, I bid you a farewell and good night. ...more
"The Tide of Darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt & sorrow." There is somet"The Tide of Darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt & sorrow." There is something about Southern Gothic writing that can disturb me to my core. O'Flannery's writing is beautiful and concise, everything I enjoy about language. It expresses an ethereal environment while placing you in the nitty gritty of what humanity truly is. There is a delicacy needed when describing anger, disappointment, envy, and disgust. The complexity that is humanity is hard to capture, and even harder in short story form. She had all the skill needed for that kind of story telling. Stories about the common man need to be told and aren't told enough. I will praise and remember her as one of the best writers I have ever read. It is hard to pick a favorite, but I think mine is "The Comforts of Home" It reminds me of Jude the Obscure, in that everything is appraised "not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes." That can really some up her entire work. What we give as our reasonings ultimately do not matter. How correct we may seem in our acts of anger matter naught, when faced with the reality that only our actions truly define us to our fellow members of humanity. "He wanted him to see the universe, to see that the darkest parts of it could be penetrated." O'Connor wants us to do the same....more
" The Roman Lyricists accepted the fact of death, as if the nothingness they faced were a tribute to the richness of the year they had enjoyed." This w" The Roman Lyricists accepted the fact of death, as if the nothingness they faced were a tribute to the richness of the year they had enjoyed." This was a very enjoyable read. I had an affinity for it based on the fact that it took place at the college I went to. To me it was a story of the hope and assumptions we have of people and life in general, and how those are in stark contrast to the reality of life. In the end it was acceptance of reality for what it is that gave him the peace he needed to die without anguish....more
I found a copy of this at an antique store in Missouri. That isn't completely odd, but it is more of a southwest thing. My grandparents had copies ofI found a copy of this at an antique store in Missouri. That isn't completely odd, but it is more of a southwest thing. My grandparents had copies of these along with "Coronado's Children", "Apache Gold", etc. So, I got super excited and bought it. To my surprise the book is wonderful reading. The story is gripped with excitement, friendship, and history. I love that it takes place in the actual park of Mesa Verde. You can imagine how life was then. What did going to a National Park feel like? It felt like the old west without guns. Here are a few tidbits that I loved: -Grandpa refers back to the 90's. The 1890's that is. Which now makes me think of how I will sound in 2060 referring back to the 1990's as "The 90s" -They have knapsacks rather than backpacks -They spell Navajo as Navaho -When he orders a Milk shake at the counter, they actually shake the milk while surrounded by ice and salt in order to create the shake. It isn't just ice cream with milk mixed in it. They actually shake the heavy milk to form partial ice cream, which is why it is called a Milk "Shake". ...more
"I only remember Ideas & Sensations." My favorite character was by far Buck Mulligan, he embodied the "Druidy Druid" for me. If I judge a book by w"I only remember Ideas & Sensations." My favorite character was by far Buck Mulligan, he embodied the "Druidy Druid" for me. If I judge a book by whether it enlightened me in regards to the human condition, then this gets a high rating. In regards to the difficulty I experienced in reading about 50% of the book, I will say that I believe he kept writing even on days when he didn't feel particularly inspired. There are sections that are more about expressing his own particular tastes than writing anything tangible. Which brings me to my favorite quote.. "The Supreme Question of a Work of art is out of how deep a life does it Spring" I have a sense that Joyce regarded this book as his art and its purpose was to demonstrate the deep, meaningful, and rich life that he lived. I enjoy this idea that art is not about pleasing those that see it, but more about showing them who the artist is. The more complex and unique (deep) of a life the artist leads, creates ultimately the better art. There are chapters in this book that are the pinnacle of what literature can do, but there is also some real crap. Which goes to say that like most of us, his artist spring is sometimes majestic and at other times kind of muddy. "Everyone according to his needs or everyone according to his deeds" The discussions that he forces us to have about "whores", "assholes", and what we consider a weak man, are subtle. There is a judgement that wells up within all of us regarding the life that the characters lead. Why do we feel disgust if a woman chooses to have sex with many men? Why do we see a man as weak and below if he "allows" his woman to be promiscuous? We work so hard to fight against nature and be monogamist, that when we see others give up we are excited to get to put them in the stack of bodies that raises our own pedestal up. I do believe he was trying to force people to look at their own hypocrisy and re-examine why they feel an investment in others redemption, at least that is what it did for me. "We are stonecold and pure. We eat electric light." There are serious intellectual topics. There is historical relevance of a time gone by. There is personal hatred and fear examined over and over again. The glory of this book lies not in those points for me, but in the beauty of some of his language. The fantastical mingling of image and word. The fact that when I close my eyes there is a Nymph that is looking at me with the eyes that are stonecold and pure while she feeds off of the fledgling technology of electric light....more