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Unter Null

(Less Than Zero #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  61,298 ratings  ·  3,135 reviews
Gerade 20 Jahre alt, schreibt 1984 ein amerikanischer Student namens Bret Easton Ellis die Abschlußarbeit für einen Creative-writing-Kurs. Der Schriftsteller Joe McGinnis, sein Lehrer, ist so begeistert, daß er das Manuskript einem angesehenen New Yorker Verlag schickt, wo es unter dem Titel Less Than Zero tatsächlich erscheint.

Unter Null entwickelt sich zum Ku
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Paperback, 188 pages
Published 1999 by Kiepenheuer und Witsch (first published May 1985)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  61,298 ratings  ·  3,135 reviews


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Jessica
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of today's mtv reality shows about overprivileged, lobotomized so-cal youth
Recommended to Jessica by: marshall
This book seems boring and shallow, and reading it gives me an anesthetized, hollow, detached feeling that I would not describe as entirely pleasant.

And yet I cannot seem to stop, and whenever I have to, I become very anxious to return to it as quickly as I can. Its appeal is no less powerful for being difficult to pinpoint or explain.

This experience reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what.... Oh yeah, I know: Bright Lights, Big City. Way better, though, so far. I love
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mark monday
some books are like the face of Justin Long:

Photobucket

this is a highly punchable face. don't you just want to punch that smug look right off of his corny face? it is a face born for being stomped into the ground. ugh, i hate justin long. although i loved him in the last few seconds of Jeepers Creepers, he was perfect for the role of Gutted Horror Victim.

i also hate Less Than Zero. i b
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Krok Zero
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2010
Last year I spent a few months as an intern for a major national arts publication, which shall remain nameless because that makes me look cooler than if I just blurted it out. I had a few regular duties at this (unpaid) gig, the primary one being transcription of interviews. You might think that transcribing is drudgery, and in a sense it is. But if the interview subject was interesting—and, given this publication's bent and cachet, most of the subjects were interesting—it provided a rare glimps ...more
Kevin Kelsey
Unloved rich kids in 80s L.A. desperately try to feel something. It's depressing and disheartening, but worth it if you can stomach the apathy and hedonism. It's pretty awful at times (the events of the book).
Ratscats
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: assholes
Recommended to Ratscats by: an asshole
Rich kids doing drugs. Ugh.
Actually, my view of this book was kind of distorted by this man I used to work with at this coffee shop.
He was a huge fan if this author. And he was also a writer himself (published in Hustler!). He was in his 40's and still trying to break out. He had a son that was autistic and had tons of medical bills but because he still wanted to be a struggling artist his family had to suffer.
So, he gives me the manuscript of one of his books (that was rejecte
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Jr Bacdayan
This novel irritated me but at the same time I couldn’t take my hands off it. I so clearly recognized the hardened apathy reflected in the eyes of Clay. He is a young man immobile, paralyzed by indecision, slowly rotting as he waits for whatever doom comes his way. His problem is not that he doesn’t know what he wants, but rather the ability to want has been lost in him. His circumstances, which usually is being driven by the person, is rather moving of its own accord, and he is aboard not steer ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
TW: drug abuse, pedophilia

The person who recommended this to me cited it as her favorite book of all time, but she had read it for a class, so I think we had different experiences with it. This book is steeped in melancholy and nihilism, which I typically enjoy, but the format and emotionlessness of this often made it difficult to read, so it took me over a month to complete. Still, I enjoyed its themes and totally understand why my friend connected with it so much. I'm jealous that
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Derek
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why should I care about Bret Easton Ellis' characters if he doesn't care about them? The aptly titled Less Than Zero didn't bother to go into the character's inner-dialogue any more than it bothered to show a character that anyone might care about. Sure, the things they do (random sex, drug abuse, etc) make great fodder for fiction, but if there's no counterweight of compassion, what do I care if they fuck up their lives?

I get it: they're emotionally vacant and aimless because of the env
...more
Kathryn
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: family-drama, drugs
Books of this nature age well with me. I keep thinking about what happened, what Ellis might have meant. I find it fascinating what people walk away with from this and American Psycho. It seems rather obvious to me that this book is not just about spoiled rich drug addicts wasting away while taking some of their world with them. The characters' actions, more specifically their lack of action, says so much for the state of the times in this book, for LA, for American culture, all of which I find ...more
Vanessa
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is almost a painful exercise. Everyone is drugged up, f*@$ed up and nobody cares about anything other than getting high and wasted. Everyone is literally sleeping with everyone. Many meaningless sexual encounters where morals are left by the highway. The 80's were really about living the excess lifestyle and no place more than L.A where this book centres around. The book is one painfully awful situation after another, a lot of aimless wanderings, with lots of bad pointless dial ...more
Trin
Another empty novel about emptiness, oh joy! I read this because friends were always like, “You’ve never read Bret Easton Ellis? Whaaaaat?” But now I have and we never have to talk about it again. Yay.
Supreeth
Nobody does teenage nihilism better than Bret Easton Ellis. This is the sort of book you'd read and say, 'I'd have loved it if I'd read it in my twenties', if you read it in your forties.

Talking about the shock factor, it isn't really as shocking as it was in 1980s. Nothing seems shocking in 2018, even American Psycho wouldn't have been much of a shocker if it was published recently. We've good chunk of movies/books like Hostel, Saw, Human Centipede with basically people chopping up or drilling each other. Ame
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Edward Lorn
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less Than Zero is an affecting ridealong in a car full of coke-addled rich kids. The ending is properly shocking. I was, as was intended, thoroughly disgusted, as I'm sure you will be too.

I didn't like a single character. The book has all the appeal of a trainwreck that causes a chemical spill at your local kindergarten. You don't read this book for fun. You read it to justify your hatred of humanity and all things wealthy.

Christian Rummel does a fantastic job with the audiobook.

In summation: The
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Alex
The defense I see most often of Ellis is: "You just don't get the joke." And could there be a more annoying defense? How can you even respond to that? It's meaningless.

And it's not a joke. It's satire; that's totally different.

I spent tonight arguing about Ellis with some very smart contrarians, and here's what they said: Ellis has captured the soulless Me First Generation, and their failure to connect with life, in a really effective way. He refuses his rival David Foste
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Neil Walker
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bret Easton Ellis is listed on my author page as of my four biggest influences as a writer, the other three being Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King and William Shakespeare.

In Less Than Zero, he is writing about his favourite time period, the 1980s, and his favourite location, Los Angeles.

The way he captures the mindset of a certain element of society in the 1980s in a particular place and pushes it to it’s logical conclusion is very much something I was trying to emulate in D
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Sam Quixote
A young student called Clay returns to Los Angeles for Christmas break to see friends and family. His visit reads something like this: “We’re rich kids in LA! Let’s do drugs and have sex – we’re soooo hedonistic and transgressive! Ooo, let’s have sex again and do MORE drugs!” Repeat for 200 pages and you’ve got Bret Easton Ellis’ debut novel Less Than Zero!

Ellis can write really well so it’s a shame he doesn’t really have anything to say besides: rich LA brats are aimless, lost youth
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Joe
May 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One question before we start, "Anthracite?"

Less than Zero is a meditation on the soul-less, physically obsessed world that was born in the 1980s. Yes, perhaps the pedulum has swung to and fro since the publication, but I find the relevance striking to today's pop-culture aesthetic. If Easton Ellis was writing this story today, which his website says he is working on a sequel!?! TECHNOLOGY would or will seperate the characters even more. The Internet is the most convenient place at this time to "Disappear here/>Less
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Jeremy
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
I've never read Ellis before, and since he published this when he was just 21, I'm not sure if or how to really come to grips with it. The style is obviously super flat, though whether this is because Ellis simply wasn't able to write otherwise at such a young age or if he was just smart enough to realize he's probably too young to try, I can't say. But I found Clay's cool, detached narration to be, if nothing else, fairly engaging. Not revelatory, not brilliant, but interesting enough to keep m ...more
Darwin8u
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
“Fear never shows up and the party ends early.”
― Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero

description

I'm afraid I OD'd on LA novels this week. Started with 'Less than Zero', added the Black Dahlia, and finished with The Day of the Locusts. Let me just say, I'm definitely not planning on moving to that City where people and their dreams both go to die. A visit of 3 days
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A.C. Lillywhite
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one I currently care for.
Recommended to A.C. by: Tatum
This book probably deserved more than three stars. But I just can't give it any more than that. I HATE this book. I hate it with my whole soul. It's so true and I am massively depressed after reading it. It perfectly illustrates the life of a completely useless waste of a human being and all his useless friends and their useless lives. It's awful. They should all be put out of their (and our) misery. The best thing I can say is that this book serves as a glorious example of how not to be. The sc ...more
Richard
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nihilists, dummies
Shelves: saw-the-film
Okay, so I was willing to accept this book as a criticism of the emptiness of modern culture. I was willing to overlook the dullness and amateurishness. But it just got duller and duller and duller. And yes, we know American culture is a wasteland. But there has to be a more interesting way to get this across. And if I am to accept this book as metaphor, I'm going to have to disagree with its premise because I think it's cynical to the point of inaccuracy. It was like a Wes Anderson movie: I can ...more
Fede
This is a disquieting, scary book. It deals with youths whose minds are eroded by death of affection, amorality and a devastating spiritual apathy: eighteen-year old kids driving Porsches and vegetating on poolsides, relentlessly destroyed in their bodies and souls by the adults surrounding them - absent fathers, immature mothers, middle-aged guys lusting for boys the age of their sons...- exploited and exploiting each other under the palm trees of Los Angeles.
Clay, the narrator, is vaguel
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Elizabeth
Drugs, sex, more drugs, sex, sex, drugs. Repeat. Drive around some. Go to parties. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD make it stop.
Mark
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are some books that after you finish, you sit there holding it, the last page, the last word staring back at you, and you just kind of zone out and ponder everything that's happened since you picked it up; everything that happened in the story, everything that happened in real life.

Before I drove back from my folks today, back to hit the road again, I was watching the news. On the news crawl at the bottom of the screen a snippet kept passing that said 31 people had died in a blast in Syri
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Clare
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, christmas
A large part of this book is boring and the characters are all just horrible people but the overall effect is amazing. It races along full of boring details and you feel like sticking pins in your eyes and shouting at the characters but then it drops in anvil heavy, horrific statements so subtly it just merges into the text. It's so subtle it makes it all the more shocking.
Bret Easton Ellis is amzing at writing dialogue. This was a point that kept me going. All his "and then I did this, an
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Paul
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less Than Zero describes the lives of wealthy, jaded teenagers in LA during the 80’s, the age of greed and consumerism (cue Gordon Gekko’s famous speech in 1987’s Wall Street).

All characters walk around in a nihilistic, monochromatic world: continually smoking, blowing coke up their nose, taking prescription medicine and having loads and loads of sex. But they are all in a grey, unfeeling hell of their own making.

It’s hard to differentiate each character in this book, bec
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Sean Blake
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Disappear here...

It’s hard to imagine a better published first novel than Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, published in 1985, when the writer was just 21. The tender age didn’t seem to bother Ellis as he effortlessly deconstructs the youth of his generation in Los Angeles. It’s cold, nihilistic, raw and driven by emotionless desires. It’s this detachedness that gives power to Bret Easton Ellis’ minimalist prose.

Tightly controlled, the novel follows the narrator, Clay, an eighteen year old re
...more
Ryan
I would give this book Less Than Zero stars if I could.

I picked up this book for multiple reasons. But the main reason was because it was in the bargain bin at Books-A-Million for $5.97. Mr. Ellis was my age when this book was published, so I thought I’d get great insight on troubled young adults against the back drop of Los Angeles, but instead I got a bunch of obnoxious teenagers with drug problems.

Here's what's wrong:

Writing Style
One of the main issues I had with this book wa/>
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L.S. Popovich
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"This is what would happen if I gave my kids a trust fund." - said someone, about this book.

I fear this frame of mind for our youth. This casual nihilism, this destructive illusion of indestructibility. At times powerful, at other times, just not that compelling. Excessive, isn't it? It is, at the very least, thought-provoking on the level of: If only you kids understood anything about how the world works. I recommend listening to the audio version, love thy neighbor, and try to wash
...more
Annie
Oct 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: let-s-get-high
I feel like I've been writing a lot of negative reviews lately. I wish it weren't so but apparently I need to be more discerning in my choices. Sigh.

So, whatever. I get it. I'm supposed to hate Clay and everyone else for wanking off 24/7, for spending all their time coked out and fucking each other mindlessly. I'm supposed to be critical of their wanton lifestyle and soulless existence. I'm supposed to actively want to life a life unlike theirs.

That's all true. I do. Miss
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Bret Easton Ellis 1 7 Mar 06, 2019 02:23PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Alternative cover for Less Than Zero 3 23 Dec 11, 2018 11:53AM  
Less Than Zero Analysis 1 13 Jan 19, 2018 11:28PM  
Valley Ridge Dreamers project 1 8 Nov 09, 2016 11:07AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis 2 27 Apr 25, 2015 10:37PM  
Meaning/purpose 9 255 Apr 01, 2015 10:42AM  
i want to know about its 1st chapter 1 33 Apr 01, 2015 10:18AM  

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7,865 followers
Bret Easton Ellis is an American author. He is considered to be one of the major Generation X authors and was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He has called himself a moralist, although he has often been pegged as a nihilist. His characters are young, generally vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to enjoy it. The novels ...more

Other books in the series

Less Than Zero (2 books)
  • Imperial Bedrooms
“But this road doesn't go anywhere,” I told him.
“That doesn't matter.”
“What does?” I asked, after a little while.
“Just that we're on it, dude,” he said.”
206 likes
“Disappear here” 144 likes
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