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Imperial Bedrooms

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  20,527 ratings  ·  1,223 reviews
Clay has become a successful screenwriter but when he returns to Los Angeles, to help cast his new movie, he's soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair is now married to Trent, and their parties attract excessive levels of fame and fortune, though for all that Trent is a powerful manager, his baser instincts remain. ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Picador USA (first published June 15th 2010)
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Average rating 3.16  · 
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Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 modern o
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
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
Rachel Louise Atkin
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I finished the majority of this in about 4 hours because what the actual hell did I just read. I don’t know why I ever expect to come out of a Bret Ellis book feeling fine because that never happens, this book was fucked. But not in a good way, more in an annoyed way.

This is by far Ellis's worst book. No sense of time, no sense of space - when you compare with the overwhelming gloom of the city in it's predecessor Less Than Zero, and the toxic consumerism of the 80s in American Psycho, there is
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
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Scarlett O.H.
This book is weirdly topical with the whole casting couch/ Harvey Weinstein news and discussions we've been having lately. Last week it came out in the papers that even in The Netherlands there was a guy from a casting bureau who had been abusing young boys for years. Hollywood and also other countries movie industries are a toxic environment and Bret Easton Ellis once again describes it in a harsh and detached way. The leading character is not a reliable narrator because of how much he drinks, ...more
Fortunately, I didn't have to wait 25 years to read this one. But unfortunately this one sucked big time.
This is mostly a standalone than a sequel for less than zero. While the detached unfazed narration of clay is still same, the whole book didn't intrigue me in any way. It mostly reminded me of 5th season of Californication, but the darker version. If you loved LTZ and want more of Clay, you're in for a disappointment. You should've disappeared there.
I guess Bret Easton Ellis is still stuck
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
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
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
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
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 Mudd
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
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
While this books works on its own, it is really recommended reading Less than Zero to get the most out of Imperial Bedrooms. This book is set 25 years later, Clay has seemed to have moved on but when he finds himself back in Hollywood, he is sucked back into this world. My problem with Less than Zero as probably the fact that I read it 25 years too late; so it felt dated and I was probably too old to get the most out of it. Imperial Bedrooms seemed to be a better book, I’m not sure it’s the fact ...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
Kendare Blake
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The opening pages of Imperial Bedrooms impart a fun, nostalgic feeling to those readers who have read Less Than Zero and seen the film. Spending more time with Clay and Julian and Blair is an almost warm prospect in the early pages, when you're wondering what the hell they've been up to for the last 25 years. But it doesn't take long to remember that Bret Easton Ellis is a master of the disconnect, and he's becoming so good at MENACE that I don't know what to do with him.

This book, very short an
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
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BEE is one of the best stylists in English. Like early Joan Didion, but about glamorized nihilistic free-fall through the bars and palaces of LA in the oughts instead of... well, that, but in the late sixties. This book is awesome - reading most fiction is somehow not that far off from the experience of eating paste - to put it more kindly, it seems perhaps unnecessary - but Imperial Bedrooms has a vision, actually feels like something.

The preponderance of froth-mouthed negative reviews raises m
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
Andrew Shaffer
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An LA noir that wouldn’t have been out of place as a Hard Case Crime book. Not sure that’s what most Ellis readers wanted out of a sequel to LESS THAN ZERO, but I thought the dialogue was snappy and the plot moved quickly.
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
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
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
Steven Godin
I am a fan of 'Less Than Zero', it's an important book on nihilistic youth and the boredom of the wealthy. Although this picks up on the same main characters years later, it reads nothing like LTZ, in fact it really is quite bad, shocking for the sake of shocks?, yes. Written with a nasty tone it's a sort of modern-noir chiller with some seriously disturbing scenes towards the end. One plus though, the sparse and distant nature I did like, and just about saved it. ...more
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 Endlessly Booked
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!!!!
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Blair at the end 2 129 Jun 10, 2015 01:39AM  
B.E.E. Downhill since American Psycho ? 8 96 Nov 05, 2013 03:47AM  
Disappear Here: Favorite Supporting Character 1 9 Jul 20, 2013 02:36PM  
Disappear Here: Dream Cast - Imperial Bedrooms 1 11 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 generally young vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to enj ...more

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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.” 68 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.” 49 likes
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