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Imperial Bedrooms (Less Than Zero #2)

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  12,807 Ratings  ·  1,089 Reviews
Bret Easton Ellis’s debut, Less Than Zero, is one of the signal novels of the last thirty years, and he now follows those infamous teenagers into an even more desperate middle age.

Clay, a successful screenwriter, has returned from New York to Los Angeles to help cast his new movie, and he’s soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his former girlfriend, is marr
Hardcover, 169 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Knopf (first published 2010)
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Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Do not read this book. It's about despicable people doing despicable things.

In other words, it's about being human in the most essential sense of the term.

You will not like it because you have to like the characters you read about. Or because it's too dull or cold or passe. Or because it's misanthropic or misogynistic.

It's really none of these things, but you'll think it is and say it is and you'll be angry and spiteful and write another tired anti-Ellis review. Another tired anti-postmoderni
Nov 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have defended this writer quite enough already. The time’s up! We are henceforth severing all ties.

Jeez… how can a critically-acknowledged writer move so far back in his own craft, in originality? Entering the realm of the true masters with “American Psycho” & even the more recent “Glamorama” and then totally selling out… what a disgrace! You, Mr. Easton Ellis, should feel shame. Please retire!

I really don’t want to get into a brief synopsis of this sad excuse for a novella (sure… its mode
David Lentz
Nov 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really can't seem to remember the last time that I rated a novel with only one star. But I blame myself: I should have seen it coming. A friend of mine met BEE at a party in the Hamptons and raved about him. So despite my misgivings I thought I would take the plunge and now I deeply regret that I did so. Fortunately, the book was terribly short and it's not so much a novel really as a novella. I assume BEE knocked it out over a long weekend stay at the Beverly Hilton. I am not so much into mul ...more
M.J. Fiori
I expect to be able to read YA fiction in under three hours (or a Charlaine Harris book), but not literary fiction. This slim, flimsy novel is not a worthy followup - especially after three decades - to that eighties-Zeitgeist-capturing classic, Less Than Zero. The characters have not aged well, natch; but much more seriously, their creator seems to have regressed in trying to invoke them again. While the jaded narrative voice of Clay (as an Alice who made the mistake of staying too long in the ...more
Tori Jo Lau
Do you remember when Bret Easton Ellis was a ground-breaking new author who wrote novels that shook you to the core, that angered you and made you feel like you were reading something new and unique? I know that's how I felt when I read American Psycho - it was a horrible look into a killer mind, one that stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading the book.

I've read two books by Ellis recently, Imperial Bedrooms and Lunar Park. They both have the same problem in that there's nothin
Mar 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As if the infantile devil silhouette (Halloween self-portrait?) on the cover of its paltry 169 pages wasn't a dead giveaway that "imperial Bedrooms", the sequel to BEE's 1985 less-than-stellar "Less than Zero" was going to be a clunker, all I had to do was turn to the last page to see the "1985-2010" designation. This sequel was 25 years in the making!

God, what an insipid, uninspired, self-absorbed, vapid piece of nothingness this was. I vowed after reading his paean to product placement and to
Tiny Pants
I would advise potential readers -- and if you're reading this now, that may mean you -- don't read any reviews of this book. Stop reading this right now. It's written in a fairly elliptical way, with dialogue faintly sketching and shading in the bones of the plot, and so anything you do know will take away from what's there. Even though I read his interview in New York and the "Talk of the Town" piece on Bret Easton Ellis in the New Yorker, these mercifully didn't give anything away. Okay, they ...more
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Bret Easton Ellis has always adopted two distinct personae as an author—that of the lurid purveyor of ultra violence and base sexual appetites set out to shock a bourgeois critical establishment that dares to question his literary mettle, or the closet moralist who wags his finger at the involvement of his characters, and the attendant interest of his fans, in said behavior.

Interestingly enough, it is these same warring impulses that put Ellis in a real narrative predicament in Imperial Bedroom
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imperial Bedrooms is Bret Easton Ellis' sequel to Less Than Zero. It's not a book for most people.
Having dismissed most of you out of hand, I now turn my attention to those of us for whom this book was written.
If you were young, smart, rich, and beautiful in the early 1980's, here is our glorious, shameful tribute (it was once okay to openly admit you were an elitist). Before the ravages of AIDS, herpes, crack cocaine, and the resulting cautionary morality that swallowed us whole, we were a free
Louise Johanna
ok jeg er klar for å ha in depth project om at å skrive oppfølgeren til debutromanen sin ikke nødvendigvis garanterer en ny suksess
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Amanda Bynes, to prepare for her big comeback role as Rain Turner
Shelves: 2010
Highly polished Less Than Zero fan-fiction: for not one second do I buy into the idea that Bret Easton Ellis actually believes his characters survived beyond the very late 80s or early 90s. The literary equivalent of a "Späder-Man" action figure.

Also please note that Elvis Costello does not make an appearance - beyond an epigraph - as any sort of symbol or signpost, as he did in LTZ.

But Warren Zevon does.

Twice, actually.

As such, since naming a novel set in LA "Werewolves of London" or "Things
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Response Song

When I bought my first copy of David Bowie's Scary Monsters I remember the strange feeling of listening to a "song sequel" of Major Tom, titled Ashes To Ashes. How amazing! Revisiting a character in a song! I was stunned and exhilarated because I had no experience, or rather, no awareness of the idea of "response songs". This practice is more easily tracked in radio and recorded popular music but two of the most classic response songs come from older songs, in the blues, by Muddy W
Jun 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been looking forward to this book for months. Having read everything that Bret Easton Ellis has published, and counting three of those books (American Psycho, Lunar Park, and Glamorama) among my top 20 books of all time, I couldn't wait to see what Imperial Bedrooms had in store for me (aside from a great title). I was somewhat shocked to picked up this slim volume at the book store and realize that it was less than 200 pages long. More of a novella, really, than a novel, but I paid the $27 ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Never until this book did I find Andrew McCarthy's voice so damn sexy.
I swear Easton Ellis knows how to write about dysfunction especially in my generation. He captures it perfectly. Debauchery for everyone!!!!
Read this book today, yessir, and...what can I say? I don't like it much. Not because, as another member so smugly put it, I can't deal with not liking characters in a book, or because it's misanthropic and misogynistic. Nope, the reason I don't like this book is, simply put, because I. Just. Don't. Give. A. Fuck.

I don't give a fuck about the banal characters, the boring ass storyline, the mediocre writing. I don't give a fuck about the trite "Hollywood is empty and everyone is awful" sentiment
Aaron Weinman
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Couldn't put it down. Anti-Ellis peeps will scorn and have done on this forum and each to its own, but this is a serious return to form for one of my personal favourites.
Ellis re-visits the characters from his first book, Less Than Zero, and while much has changed in their lives, it would appear the ‘protagonist,’ Clay seems the most different….Yes he was always devoid of natural emotion and his social skills have always been somewhat off, but I sense a lot of difference in his charac
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a product of Generation X, which was laughable at the time, I was deeply disturbed by Less Than Zero. I read the book, ran to the theatre to see the movie and re-read it. Dark, disturbing and the characters were unlike anyone I would ever know, it fascinated me. I loved it. Now, it's sequel begins with another visit from Clay,still disinterested and unaffected these many years later.Maybe it's the fact I was left wanting more, or, that Ellis continues this disturbing story like it was written ...more
Goran Gluščić
Ovu knjigu sam pročitao dvaput ove godine. Možda zato jer sam očekivao da će mi drugi puta biti bolja. Knjige u kojima osjetim nešto takvo najčešće i završe s barem jednom zvijezdicom više.

Imperial Bedrooms neće biti takva knjiga.

Je li moguće voljeti knjigu i dati joj tri zvijezdice? Jer stvarno volim ovu knjigu, na neki izopaćeni način. Svjestan sam da nije dobra i, kvragu, ne samo da sam toga svjestan već i meni samome knjiga nije baš dobra. Nije loša, ali gura se negdje između prosječne i bla
Dominique Perregaux
Don't take me wrong rating this book 1 star, I love Bret Easton Ellis. I loved Less than zero, I loved American Psycho, I loved the Informers, I loved Glamorama, I liked Lunar Park (see my review on the book) but Imperial Bedrooms is a shame.

It seems clear that this book was written to honor the author's commitments toward his publisher. It is a commercial trick, with thick font and big margins on top, bottom, left and right. Less than zero was a master piece. Nowhere in Imperial Bedrooms can we
Sabra Embury
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quick-read
A screenwriter named Clay returns to the LA scene, after being MIA for a while in NY; he runs the same circle of friends, the same places, the same parties, drinking Grey Goose here and there in Hollywood.

Clay begins to receive mysterious texts on his iPhone, he thinks he's being followed, he meets a hot blond; she must know some tricks, she must have (all of the above of) some killer ______; because she is the reason why everything is happening, why enemies and death are residual effects for t
Sullivan Wheeler
Jul 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Bret Easton Ellis: we're through. Imperial Bedrooms was the last of your books that I will be reading. It's the last time I'm going to be fooled into thinking that maybe you've moved beyond your forty-year-old adolescent, violent misogynistic buillshit. Because now I realize: it's all you know how to do. You've got nothing else to say except, "Check it out -- this guy's a rich, white douchebag who's dead inside!" It's not interesting, it's not cute, and as a writer you're not maturing. And ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The old gang from "Less Than Zero" are revisited in a sort of sequel, "Imperial Bedrooms". They were wasted as teenagers and they're wasted in middle age. Trent Burroughs is married to Blair, Julian Wells is around, Rip Millar is creepier than the last time, while Clay is as vapid and self-absorbed as ever.

The story begins with a film Clay wrote and is helping produce, "The Listeners", where he meets a desperate and beautiful actress, Rain Turner, who will do anything for a starring role. Clay
Lee Monks
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To respond to some of the deliriously upset reviewers of IB: I'd hazard a guess at BEE being rather delighted with such a response. The book is about paranoid anhedonic hell. It's uncomfortable reading, often. It also contains stretches of dazzling, vivid writing the likes of which no-one else can evoke, particularly in formulating a world emptied out of all but appearance and machination. Ellis is an important writer mapping nightmarish territory and shouldn't be for everyone.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imperial Bedrooms:
3.07?????? That's it?!

I think I may be lightly spoiling themes in this so....yeah. I won't spoil any of the plot points though.

Well, then, I guess I'm a tad surprised....maybe a 3.3? I don't know, all I can say is that I really, really, really liked this book. Like, I love it.

It's a sequel to Ellis' "Less Than Zero" The zeitgeist of the 80s, or "The Catcher in the Rye for the MTV generation." Both Catcher and "Less Than Zero" are some of my favorite books...they go well togethe
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
La storia ripete gli antichi vezzi, le facile risposte, le stesse sconfitte…, canta Elvis Costello in epigrafe (Beyond Belief).
Ma deve per forza farlo anche la letteratura?

Su di noi avevano fatto un film. Il film era tratto da un libro scritto da una persona che conoscevamo. Il libro era il semplice racconto di quattro settimane trascorse nella città in cui siamo cresciuti e in linea di massima era un ritratto fedele. Venne catalogato come romanzo, ma solo pochi dettagli avevano sub
The Basics

In this sequel to Less Than Zero, we catch up with Clay and his old friends, all of whom are now middle-aged and much the same as we left them. In this universe, Less Than Zero was a successful book and a movie that missed the point, much as it is in ours. Clay isn’t satisfied with the way he was portrayed, so the question becomes, “can he show his audience that he’s a different man than that?”

My Thoughts

I’m about to say the most controversial thing I could possibly say: Imperial Bedro
Jim Cherry
In the 80’s Brett Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney were the hot new writers commenting on contemporary society through their fiction, sort of the Hemingway and Fitzgerald for Generation X. In the past year both have put out books revisiting their early successes, Ellis with his new “Imperial Bedrooms.”

“Imperial Bedrooms” is Ellis returning to the characters of “Less Than Zero,” I would say this is a nostalgic return to these characters but I don’t think they’re capable of feeling nostalgia or muc
Do not read this book if you are one of the following: Someone who is easily disturbed; Someone who dislikes descriptions of death, forced sexual encounters, and/or drug use, and/or are someone who finds their own actions easily influenced by characters. Otherwise, read away!

This book will have you feeling numb and sick by the time you get to the last page. The characters are no longer the just-turned adults that may have captured your heart in the first book. They are spiteful, painful shells o
Aaron Poorman
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is billed as a sequel to Ellis' debut novel Less Than Zero (1987) Both titles are references to Elvis Costello works, which only adds to my bias appreciation ; yet it still functions capably as a stand alone story. I haven't gotten a chance to read the original so I cannot speak to the interplay of the two works. However there is a fair amount of recapping for those that don't know the back-story. The book opens with the line - "They had made a movie about us". This is interesting on t ...more
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
Okay so I want to clarify a comment that I made on another review of this book by saying that I like this book better than less than zero. I said something about ellis making a caricature of himself. I realize that the person I was responding to probably mean the new books were a caricature of the old books. Perhaps like saying survivor is just palahniuk's attempt to rewrite fight club. I mean I hear this stuff a lot and I agree they are similar books but I think it is more like a lack of intere ...more
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Blair at the end 2 60 Jun 10, 2015 01:39AM  
B.E.E. Downhill since American Psycho ? 8 88 Nov 05, 2013 03:47AM  
Disappear Here: Favorite Supporting Character 1 6 Jul 20, 2013 02:36PM  
Disappear Here: Dream Cast - Imperial Bedrooms 1 8 Jul 14, 2013 07:44AM  
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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 en ...more
More about Bret Easton Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

Less Than Zero (2 books)
  • Less Than Zero

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“There are so many things Blair doesn’t get about me, so many things she ultimately overlooked, and things that she would never know, and there would always be a distance between us because there were too many shadows everywhere. Had she ever made promises to a faithless reflection in the mirror? Had she ever cried because she hated someone so much? Had she ever craved betrayal to the point where she pushed the crudest fantasies into reality, coming up with sequences that she and nobody else could read, moving the game as you play it? Could she locate the moment she went dead inside? Does she remember the year it took to become that way? The fades, the dissolves, the rewritten scenes, all the things you wipe away—I now want to explain all these things to her but I know I never will, the most important one being: I never liked anyone and I’m afraid of people.” 53 likes
“That's how I became the damaged party boy who wandered through the wreckage, blood streaming from his nose, asking questions that never required answers. That's how I became the boy who never understood how anything worked. That's how I became the boy who wouldn't save a friend. That's how I became the boy who couldn't love the girl.” 42 likes
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