Evan's Reviews > Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
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So far I don't think I'm learning very much about the privileged youth class of LA in the 1980s, but it reads like a breeze. Clay, I'm sure, has been compared to Holden Caufield, and the book's blase ironic tone matches. No great shakes maybe, despite its fame, but I can only say I wish I could write something as good.

So drugs and casual sex and ennui---always with the image industry of Hollywood touching all---lit in the bright So-Cal noir sun.

Not much changed essentially from the days of Nathanael West.

I'm vacillating between a rating of 2 or 3 stars for this. Ennui by nature is repetitive. This is an unbroken chain of aimless moments, skillfully enough rendered, but why do I feel like I've read and seen this all before?

UPDATE:
I said this reads like a breeze. That was many pages ago, when I wrote that. Actually, not so many.

It's taking me longer to read this short 200-page book than it did "War and Peace." How many ways can you write about rich kids tooling around in expensive cars, snorting coke, screwing, going to clubs, hanging out in homes, doing and saying very little? This many ways...page after page of sameness.

Ugh. I hope it's over soon.

I know, I know. That's the point of the book. I get it. Really. Wasted potential, wealth without purpose or consideration, the bad parenting in a land of false images, la di da. That doesn't hide the fact that the book is a bit of a bore.

references to MTV seem to show up on every other page. 80s-philes should love this: lots of mention of once-fashionable bands and such.

FINAL UPDATE:

So, snuff films and teen boys pimped out and all manner of debauchery near the end - no spoilers here as I offer not the whos and wherefores...

OK, so, on balance I think I'd recommend this, at least as fodder for debate about the merits of/state of 1980's U.S. fiction.

I finally figured out what was nagging me about the "Disappear Here" billboard motif - it's Ellis either homaging or sponging off Fitgzerald (eg., the eye in "Gatbsy.")

over.
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Reading Progress

03/22/2009 page 50
24.04%
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

cannnot believe this is your first time reading this...


Evan There are too many books.

Well, I remember when this came out, and then the movie.

I read "Bright Lights Big City" by McInerny and I think that sated me on 80s writers for quite awhile.

It actually strikes me as kind of minor so far.



message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

sigh. i suppose it was major for me because, when it came out, it was "now." or. well. in my case, sort of. i never had that much money or access to drugs.


Evan I think I might have dug this book more when I was younger. I've moved up the ladder a bit with Roth and Marquez, thanks to thee.


Evan Oh, and I never had money to buy drugs. Just access to people who did, and who liked to share.


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