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The author of American Psycho and Less Than Zero continues to shock and haunt us with his incisive and brilliant dissection of the modern world.In his most ambitious and gripping book yet, Bret Easton Ellis takes our celebrity obsessed culture and increases the volume exponentially.

Set in 90s Manhattan, Victor Ward, a model with perfect abs and all the right friends, is seen and photographed everywhere, even in places he hasn't been and with people he doesn't know. He's living with one beautiful model and having an affair with another onthe eve of opening the trendiest nightclub in New York City history.And now it's time to move to the next stage. But the future he gets is not the one he had in mind.

With the same deft satire and savage wit he has brought to his other fiction, Bret Ellis gets beyond the facade and introduces us, unsparingly, to what we always feared was behind it. Glamorama shows us a shadowy looking-glass reality, the juncture where fame and fashion and terror and mayhem meet and then begin to resemble the familiar surface of our lives."

546 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1998

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About the author

Bret Easton Ellis

37 books9,429 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 generally young vacuous people, who are aware of their depravity but choose to enjoy it. The novels are also linked by common, recurring characters, and dystopic locales (such as Los Angeles and New York).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 986 reviews
Profile Image for Steven Godin.
2,319 reviews2,195 followers
March 2, 2023
One of the best novels of the 90s for me. Easy.

OK, at first I really wasn't sure about this, and it felt a little too brash and full of people that I generally took a dislike too; and was probably supposed to, and where Manhattan is presented as the greatest place on the planet, basically putting the middle finger up to the rest of the world, with its flawless skinned, Xanax dependent, loud and supercilious, label-obsessed, lying and cheating, glossy magazine characters. But of course that's the point. And if that's the point, then Bret Easton Ellis does a bloody good job of it. But then this is his forte, so it was never going to be wrong
was it. And the amount of real celeb names that get mentioned here - HUGE!

At least it was the 1990s, when a younger me generally liked celebs more. Not like now.

It took a good 100 pages or so to feel my way into the story - of a male model whose life basically spirals out of control in ways you simply couldn't imagine - but, the more I read: especially when the narrative travelled to Europe: London, Paris, Italy at the end, and took a more chilling and uncomfortable route, the more I got sucked into Victor Ward's paranoid and menacing world, and was, in the end, left gasping, gripped, feeling sick, stunned, bemused, wildly entertained, and surprisingly: for a Bret Easton Ellis novel, quite moved in places. And all throughout the narrative I was constantly thinking just what is real and what is not. What is the truth, and what is a lie.

Why are there cameras here? Hmm. . .

Whoa, who's this creepy dude?

And then later on -

Holy shit! - really?


And that was the beauty of it, always being kept on my toes with no time to relax, and things really did take a turn at about the half way point - and oh my god! - I wasn't prepared for what would follow. Second half of the novel felt a little like DeLillo's satire, only we go to a much darker and depraved place.

Wow. Just wow. Not many books leave me in a state like this one did.

Some scenes are just impossible to forget now.

For me, better than American Psycho - less repetitive and harder to put down.
Profile Image for Violet wells.
433 reviews2,957 followers
December 18, 2020
Unless you're already an out and out misanthrope, Glamorama will probably challenge what you think of the human race as a species. It's not a novel for the squeamish or the sentimental or even the steadfastly humanitarian. You know how at the end of the news there's generally a feelgood story designed to make us love our species? Well, this is like ending the news with a story about some kids torturing a kitten or a story of a gang rape. Human nature is in the dock here, and in particular the viral increase of unthinking narcissism as a founding tenet of individual philosophy. I couldn't help imagining someone reading this novel far into the future when the planet has been all but destroyed and receiving an insight into why the planet had all but been destroyed.

Glamorama is narrated by Victor, a minor celebrity, who, like everyone else in this novel, is entirely dependent on his appearance for his livelihood and self-esteem. His mantra is to slide down the surface of things and at one point he tells someone reality is an illusion. He's not interested in thought; only flippant soundbites. There's never not a film crew in his vicinity. Sometimes there's talk of a script. Easton Ellis kind of creates a doppelganger universe and cleverly posits us between these two worlds where it soon becomes impossible to decipher what's scripted and what's spontaneous. Victor and everyone else's only important relationship is the one they share with their mirror image and publicity footage. Success is exclusively a matter of social climbing, here gauged by celebrity status. (I wonder if anyone has counted the number of real life celebrities namedropped into this novel.) However, there's the constant sense that Victor is in danger, that he's a kind of patsy. He's often seen in places he has no memory of visiting. The first half of this novel was flawlessly brilliant. A novel is always fabulous when a gripping mystery has been eloquently sustained and heightened page by page.

The satisfactory resolution of mystery is probably one of the hardest things of all to pull off in fiction. There's generally some sense of being let down because the solving of mystery in fiction mirrors the underlying craving we all have in life and only very few explanations ever give us the feeling of now knowing more about the nature of life on earth. Perhaps this is why Easton Ellis never explicitly explains the mystery at the heart of this novel. What the resolution of this novel signifies has probably been endlessly debated by book clubs. I'm not sure I could give a lucid explanation. And yet it works. It retains the unsolvable mystique of any complex conspiracy theory. The second half, beginning with a graphic and largely gratuitous torture scene where Easton Ellis too excitedly indulges his tendency towards overkill, introduces terrorism and political shenanigans into the mix. It draws a compelling connection between celebrity culture and terrorism - terrorists too after all seek publicity, their fifteen minutes in the media spotlight. I missed the plausibility of the first part in the second part but it remained an incredibly compelling and thought-provoking read throughout. Written in 1998, it's no less relevant now than it was then. I concurrently read a novel by William Trevor written four years later than this and Easton Ellis made that book seem like a broken antique rooted in some long since vanished culture. There's no disputing Easton Ellis has a finger on the pulse of these times, rather like Fitzgerald did in the 20s and 30s. Except Easton Ellis' world is not one you'd want to live in.

Thanks to Steven and his review for giving me the nudge to read this.
Profile Image for Lisa.
974 reviews3,328 followers
February 9, 2017
Pure disgust for humanity, in every single sentence.

Might be true, in certain ways, might be well written, but it made me feel subhuman and aggressively angry for weeks. I do not see any point in immersing oneself in this kind of violent, sex-driven hate relationships, based on a primitive animal instinct to mate and kill.

I have read many dark accounts of humankind's degeneration, but this is just filth. And a desire to shock an audience that has heard, seen and read it all, and thus needs more brutal violence, more complicated sex positions, more vicious competition to satisfy numb senses.

If this is reality, I opt for escapism.
Profile Image for Mike Kleine.
Author 20 books140 followers
March 10, 2012
How to put this?

GLAMORAMA is many many things. GLAMORAMA is one very very long novel; GLAMORAMA is one of those books you’ll probably find on a 500-level English MA course; GLAMORAMA is not easy to read and GLAMORAMA is something of a work of genius. Now, it may not be as lengthy as say, Adam Levin’s THE INSTRUCTIONS or Don DeLillo’s UNDERWORLD but GLAMORAMA has so much going on behind the scenes and so much that is ultimately left unexplained to the reader and features so many different characters doing different things and introduces so many different themes and ideas and offers so many instances of writing genius that in the end, it all feels a bit overwhelming—a recurring theme in GLAMORAMA.

Abstractly, GLAMORAMA is to Bret Easton Ellis’ writing what FIGHT CLUB is/was to Chuck Palahniuk—and here, I am not talking plot or characters or success, rather, breadth and scope—but also, I feel that it is important to add that Palahniuk’s TELL ALL (with all its name-dropping-ness and discussion on celebrity stuff) feels like a terribly-flawed and less interesting GLAMORAMA but it’s also unfair to compare two books that are not that similar in reality. And at first, GLAMORAMA feels like it could have been two different books written by two very different authors but GLAMORAMA is one of those stories that feels absolutely (and this needs to be emphasized) confusing during the read but then, after it is all over, and in reflection, it (gradually) begins to make sense, sort of.

Again, GLAMORAMA is not an easy read, and really good books sometimes aren’t, and you have to be patient with this one, but like I said earlier, a lot of things will go unnoticed after a first read, and Ellis (purposefully) throws in a bunch of red herrings and several what the hell moments—and he does this with super explicit sex, amazingly graphic violence and several scenes featuring confetti—but when it all comes down to the nit-picking, I guess GLAMORAMA is really a story about excess and superficiality and the limits of control. And also, it’s about: sex, drugs, guns, super models, New York life, the cult of personality, extreme wealth, terrorism, Paris, celebrity, conspiracies, imposters, photo manipulation, hallucinations, ultra violence, pop culture, deception, confetti, music, the movie-making process, memories and dreams, post-modernism, expectation and eventually, regret. And while some reviews claim that GLAMORAMA is a jumbled mess of a novel—I agree, it is something of a beautiful mess; it’s not perfect, and it’s not supposed to be.

The first part of the book will read like an annoying YA book written for adults. It’s packed with: famous people names, the word “baby” in almost every line of dialogue, a severe amount of (what seems like) throw-away dialogue, a plot that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, characters who all sound alike, a story that really isn’t a story, super-hyphenated-made-up-terms and did I mention, a nonexistent plot?

An example of the super-annoying YA-like dialogue from the fist part of the book:
“Yoki Nakamuri was approved for this floor,” Peyton says.
“Oh yeah?” I ask. “Approved by who?”
“Approved by, well, moi,” Peyton says.
“Who the fuck is Moi?” I ask. “I have no fucking idea who this Moi is, baby.”
“I’m Moi,” Peyton says, nodding. “Moi is, um, French.”

And ironically, this is the sort of setup—annoying dialogue and vague story with super-shallow people in boring situations—that is necessary for the second part of the book to truly shine. It’s a classic (and simple) case of opposites and role reversals.

In the second part: New York becomes Paris, Victor’s position of power becomes a lack, his drug of choice becomes a necessity and he switches to Xanax, the vapid tameness becomes dynamic brutality and even the way Victor thinks and speaks changes dramatically.

An (extreme) example:
“The mannequin springs grotesquely to life in the freezing room, screeching, arching its body up, again and again, lifting itself off the examination table, tendons in its neck straining, and purple foam starts pouring out of its anus, which also has a wire, larger, thicker, inserted into it...there is, I’m noticing, no camera crew around.”

And though we are never sure that everything Victor says or sees is real—and here we have the classic case of the unreliable narrator—GLAMORAMA is really a story that is less worried about the (satisfying) conclusion and more concerned with the process, meaning: the characters, the dialogue, the bizarre scenarios, the violence, the ambiguity, the—everything; that’s what matters most in a story.

And no, I can’t tell you why everything’s always “freezing” or too cold, and I can’t tell you why there’s confetti everywhere, and I couldn’t tell you why only Victor notices that it smells like shit, and I couldn’t say if: the cameras, the PA’s, the best boys, the film crew, the whole shebang was really real or just a fabrication, and I don’t really know how they were able to impersonate Victor, Lauren, Bruce, Jamie or everyone else and I don’t know if Palakon ever really told Victor the truth and I don’t know what really happened to Marina and I couldn’t tell you why Christian Bale keeps showing up and I don’t know why there is an entire chapter that is basically an explicit sex scene between three people and I don’t know what it means when Victor keeps saying “we’ll slide down the surface of things…” and I couldn’t tell you what it means when Victor keeps telling people that “the better you look, the more you see” and I couldn’t begin to explain the quote “it’s what you don’t know that matters most”—but does it really matter?

Or rather, consider this. Is it better (and easier) to admit that the entire story was maybe just a movie? And that—the dialogue, the memories, the people, the bodies, the sex scenes, the bombings, all the crying and all the dying and all the inconsistencies, the plot holes—none of it was real—just part of some movie script?
Profile Image for Crystal.
18 reviews10 followers
August 10, 2007
Cover Story: Fashion Models and B-class celebrities turned International Terrorists!

Or………… Wait! Do these plastic explosives match my Armani? Call the camera crew. We have to go back to wardrobe! Reset the timer. And….where’s my Zanex?
OMG. ummmm……..*yawn?

This isn’t World Weekly News, but a novel that didn’t know where or how exactly to end. And I’m shocked really, because I adore Bret Easton Ellis. I also secretly enjoy World Weekly News, which could arguably, at times, be a better read than this novel. Maybe he could have used Batboy or those giant army ants that eat giant housewives in rural Texas. Something I could connect to, something I could try to care about. Still, I think if Bret Easton Ellis were in need of a kidney and we matched – I’d be down.

I kept hoping the main character, Victor Ward/Victor Johnson (potentially two separate people) would just die already. But this hope occurred for the first time for me on, like, page…… 50? or so. I trudged on in hopes that he/they’d become less vacuous or maybe get impaled or strangled or blown up or attacked with a chain-saw á la Patrick Bateman (“American Psycho”) style. It would have been nice to read about Victor’s entrails being spun onto a wheel, the way they did in the middle ages when they’d burn trapped rats to dig into people’s stomachs. Rats and wheels, it’s torture genius. It proves that human ingenuity is linear, I think. Later on, we made light bulbs and 100 calorie packs. Rats and wheels, this is how much I disliked Victor Whatever.

Then, I’m wondering, am I supposed to hate Victor Ward/Johnson? He’s a man so obviously disconnected from reality – like in the way that Michael Jackson is disconnected from reality. Except Victor Ward/Johnson isn’t so far gone that he sleeps in Tupperware just yet. And his nose doesn’t fall off – just yet. He just thinks a camera crew is following him everywhere sprinkling confetti all about. This is maybe his way to cope with being involved in gory terrorist activities. (I think.) I can’t, however, figure out the confetti metaphor. Can someone fill me in? Lost! But I don’t care enough to be found, really. It’s all [insert random celebrity names here], Cerruiti, Huey Lewis and the News, Brooks Brothers, Cristal, blah, blah, blah. Did I floss today? I’m tired and bored. I’m down for the count. And so – the book gets put on the nightstand for another night or another week until primetime TV is bad and I’ve had a glass of wine.

The plot begins half-way through the novel, just at about the time you’re finally ready to put it down and give up. Thank God, a point to this empty madness. But is it? Really? I’m thinking……….not so much, no. The over-materialist banality was eating at my soul for the first 250 pages. I didn’t recover when things became more interesting. Victor’s father wanted him sent away because he was running for Senate (or was it a Presidential nomination?). His quasi-gay unsuccessful college drop-out son was not good for campaigning or something like that. Victor Ward/Johnson is lured by a person potentially hired by his father, a man named Palakon. Palakon is somehow associated with the French embassy, and then not. It’s not so clear as the lines between reality and “World Victor” become blurred. Palakon, et al. decide to take advantage of the situation they have with Victor in order to transport some uber-modern super-secret plastic explosives en route to Europe.

After this: lots of drugs and death disguised as movies sets- disguised as real death- disguised as film-making. Interrogations. Love triangles. A graphic ménage á trios that spans a full chapter. Confusion about the motive behind the violence because the narrator is unreliable. More death. *yawn

Not your best work Mr. Ellis, but still call me if you need a kidney.
Profile Image for Leo Robertson.
Author 35 books432 followers
August 4, 2016
- Hi Leo.
- Hi Leo.
- Are you seriously gonna do this?
- Yeah I’ve got a friend who will likely read this whom I’m hoping will find it funny that I’ve done this ahahahah.
- What have you been reading Leo?
- Stop saying my name. It’s creepy. I actually tried another Bret Easton Ellis book thinking I’d enjoy it. Wanted to give the guy another chance.
- Hah! Not content with people taking advantage of your meekness IRL, you’re now extending the courtesy to books?
- It’s too easy for you to dislike me, man. You know too much. In this one there’s a model dude who endlessly list celebs, goes to parties, fairly plotless, affairs, drugs, he sees confetti everywhere, smells shit, is cold, may or may not be a film.
- Oh, cool. Well it’s not that bad, then. If you were gonna try BEE again, better you pick some novella—
- It’s 500 pages.
- …
- I’ve no idea.
- Oh. Well you made it to the end, right?
- Don’t— listen, don’t you start with me on this.
- Okay...
- What? You’re gonna back out now?
- There’s no need to get all riled up—
- Yeah but it’s because of your passive aggression that I felt the need to finish this one! You’re so insecure about ditching bad books.
- I’ll work on it. Just tell me what this one means so we can move on. This guy sees confetti everywhere. Why?
- One admission first: I didn’t make it to the end.
- [Cringes] Page number?
- 400.
- Not bad. If you didn’t have the point by then…
- Exactly! Yeah so he sees confetti everywhere, and it’s never falling, it’s always landed, because it’s like he’s late to the party. If I remember correctly, first he sees it on a table he’s at, and it’s on his shoulders, and later it appears on the street and in blood and stuff. So it was falling on him, then it’s already fallen everywhere he goes. He’s becoming a has-been at 27, and “the party’s over” feeling refers to the party of life. Early on a character mentions the lifecycle of the celeb: nobody, rising star, star, has-been. The only lifecycle these celebs are concerned with is the lifecycle of the celeb. It may as well mean death once the cycle comes to an end. This is cute, I guess, but it’s nothing people hadn’t figured. To say nothing of the fact that years of dedication to the writing of this to me demonstrates an unironic interest in this culture, nullifying anything vaguely satirising it would have to say. What’s that quote about satire?
- If you don’t know it, I don’t.
- Something about it being a mirror or a sphere of glass in which you see everything but yourself? But there’s BEE’s magnified face right in the centre, genuinely giving a shit. IMHO. What do I know? My American Psycho thoughts were not appreciated.
- Oh yeah? What were they?
- [Sighs] I deleted the review in the end. Couldn’t be bothered defending it. Didn’t care enough— and what internet stranger thinks they’re gonna change another internet stranger’s opinion through the magic of condescension? There are many more entertaining ways to waste your time. Like writing book reviews, forgetting about them, and then defending 5-year-old opinions even although you forgot what they were. For all the internet’s merits, the whole permanent-record thing makes people’s worldviews seem artificially static.
- Yeah make sure and write a BEE-reminiscent novel about that and make sure you can tell me when it’s done so I can go ahead and not read it— anyway, wasn’t there like a weird mannequin purple blood hallucination thing in the middle?
- It’s so convenient how much you do and don’t know about what I just read, mate.
- …
- Given BEE’s commitment to soullessness— not the voice he has created for Victor, just a genuine soullessness of his mission, a novel that is indeed pages of words but with no heart behind it— it’s some Don DeLillo steal, probably. Doesn’t mean anything.
- The smell of shit?
- A nab from Infinite Jest, which is obsessed with waste. IJ came out in 1996, this came out in 1998, and the shit-smelling starts about halfway into the text. It seems to have taken BEE about four years to write this, so he’d be right in the middle of writing it when IJ came out! Ahaha. Pffft, I doubt either was the first to wade about in waste— I just thought it was a funny coincidence. Anyway, these little symbols are supposed to make us think that Victor’s different from the rest, somehow, like we should feel sorry for him because he’s caught up in a superficial world when he was meant for better. But nothing in his actions or even his words gives evidence of this. If it ain’t true of BEE, it ain’t true of his characters. There’s also this bit where the protagonist of this novel is on an ocean liner and Jurassic Park is playing and he has dinner with “The Wallaces.” In DFW’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing…", an essay about a cruise holiday, Jurassic Park plays repeatedly. IDK what BEE’s trying to do here, but it’s a faux pas nonetheless. Wallace’s BEE insecurity manifested itself when he pretended he hadn’t read any BEE at the time of writing his BEE-adjacent stories. He pure had. Neither BEE’s nor DFW’s strategies are recommended. Just tell us you hate the guy and can’t stand that (you think) he can write well! We would love you all the more for it :)
- The main character’s cold all the time.
- The frigid nature of the text tells you that one.
- People’s breath “steams” a lot?
- BEE’s stab at joining the canon of great American writers who are careless with science. Or all the characters were really kettles.

[Edit: I've read at least three more violations of this kind, in other texts, since writing this review for the first time yesterday. Another common one: if a substance is water-based, I don't think it should be described it as oily/greasy, but I read all the time "oily blood" and "greasy tears" etc. In general I don't enjoy authors who are so afraid of cliches that they'll deliberately imbue their text with weird expressions they've never seen before. Sometimes there's a reason something hasn't seen before-- it's wrong. The literary world is all too kind about science violations. "Don DeLillo can think lightyears are a type of year if the mistake appears in a pretty sentence." The literary world could use more scientists. Or engineers mebs ;)]

- What about the mentions of a director, a cinematographer, learning the script, calling out “action”, all of that? Was it all a film or not? I need to know!
- Hahahaha, no you don’t. Probably a metaphor for la-la land of celeb culture/ the cliché of narcissists that they see life as their own film. It’s the pointlessness of the lives they lead: they’re just “reading scripts”, going through the motions, dead in life, late to the party. What with all the terrorist stuff introduced, it shows a real cognitive dissonance taking place in Victor’s head when it comes to heavy stuff going on on the planet at the same time as he’s thirsting after all of his silly pursuits. I do know if it’s a film or not.
- You do? Which is it?
- It may or may not be. Who would watch a film this dull anyway?
- What kind of an answer is that?
- It’s the same as American Psycho: did he kill those people or not? He may or may not have. I mean to say, that’s about as far as the author took that idea. It’s not, as I think he would pretend, that he holds a secret answer in his heart and asks the reader to formulate their own solution. Instead I just feel in my heart how soulless this text is.
- [Snarky tone] Yeah well Leo, that’s the point.
- I’m glad you got that one in before a BEE fan reading this could! I agree that you may well feel that’s the case, but I don’t. Seems like quite a convenient get-out clause. If the writer doesn’t care about the answer to a question his text raises, why the hell should you?
- I suppose you also feel that when people compare your writing to BEE’s, it’s inaccurate?
- Dude, my review of his book is a dialogue conducted with myself: I wish it was inaccurate! At least with this book he’s proven he can write passable female characters- and for that, it gets one star more than American Psycho!
Profile Image for Greg.
1,107 reviews1,828 followers
May 11, 2010
I read this book like eleven years ago, or maybe it was twelve, or inevitably even longer in the future. I don't remember much about it. I remember taking it out of the library, it was in the new release section, so I only had ten days to read the book. I then remember reading part of it sitting at the counter of a coffee shop that would be soon banning me from being their customer, but that has nothing to do with the book. I do remember that the part of the book which I remember reading at the above mentioned counter took place in a boat.

I liked this book. I remember that. I remember thinking that it was a let-down after the amazing American Psycho (which I do not care if you agree or disagree with my opinion about AP, even mentioning this book causes extreme reactions from people. I liked it, if you didn't that's ok. If you feel the need to froth at the mouth about liking or disliking the book take it too another review, I don't feel like being a part of a discussion about the book), and that the book was disjointed, with the first half and the second half being night and day, and that the links between high fashion / celebrity culture and international terrorism were a little, eh.

But I also remember that silly Bret Easton Ellis was still an enjoyable read. And that I feel like I've been a major douche bag by being a Bret Easton Ellis hater of sorts; just because every hipster that can read, or at least wants to make it look like he or she can read, has asked for his books, doesn't mean that I can't still like him becasue he was good, and maybe the books that came after this one are still good (or book, does he have anything more than Lunar Park? as of this writing? I know he has one this summer, and once again he will be reading at our store, and I will try not to think bad thoughts of him this time, even if the store fills to capacity with the turdiest of the turds from Williamsburg).

I kind of miss reading him, now that I think of it. I think I'm going to go find a copy of Less than Zero read the fuck out of it in preparation for the sequel coming out this summer to his debut novel. And maybe I'll enjoy it, that's right hipsters I'll enjoy it in spite of you!!
Profile Image for Roof Beam Reader (Adam).
534 reviews3 followers
October 22, 2017
Glamorama is a twisted, disgusting, brilliant parody of all that was the early-1990s. This book is Valley of the Dolls meets Naked Lunch meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets James Bond. Don't think the combination is possible? Think again. Ellis demonstrates a superb understanding of cultural critique and is creative enough to satirize with seriousness and hilarity simultaneously. If you can get through the first two hundred or so pages of idiotic dialogue (another stroke of narrative brilliance, really, but still hard to wade through), you will be rewarded. Mid-way through the novel, the story takes an unexpected and inexplicable turn. Truly, the twist is never reconciled within the novel and the reader is left feeling literally mind-fucked. No one is who they appear to be, no one works for whom they appear to work (sometimes the characters themselves don't even realize it). Everyone gets blown up, drugged out, beaten, sodomized, and the smell of feces permeates the latter portion of the story (which takes place in France - coincidence or another cultural critique?). I don't understand the confetti, I don't understand the camera crews or the many, many scripts - but am I supposed to? "The better you look, the more you see."
Profile Image for Patrick.
501 reviews111 followers
January 22, 2008
I might actually have liked this one more than "American Psycho," now that I think about it. It's actually kind of a 90's version of what AP was to the 80's, a sort of indictment/celebration(?) of materialistic/consumer culture, at least at the begining. Featuring a main character just as vapid as Patrick Bateman, Victor Ward is a male model who spends the first 200 pages going to night clubs and hanging with tons of equally vacant celebrities. Ellis's style makes this all pretty funny, but then the book takes a total 180, and Victor gets pulled into a world of model terrorists and loses sense of who's who and what's what in a haze of sex and violence. This book is just fucking awesome. And yes, it can definitely be described as "Zoolander" meets "Fight Club."
Profile Image for Baba.
3,529 reviews789 followers
March 27, 2020
A top model, and not as successful actor, Victor and his quasi-famous friends live decadent and highly consumptive life, when a quarter of the way through the book you realise what's really going on, only to be thrown in a typical Ellis' dark, relentless and well written descent into a living Hell! A book of many faces that holds a camera up to the characters, the capitalist consumptive world and us the voyeurs that spend so much time watching on our screens. Another tour de force, also another book laden with hyper detail from anything from how to have two girlfriends, through to how to run a terrorist cell and torture people! 8 out of 12. Horror shelved!
Profile Image for Kuszma.
2,147 reviews140 followers
December 11, 2022
Merítés-díjátadótól felspannolva, három pohár bor után értékelésírással próbálkozni, nos, ez bátran tekinthető kísérleti recenziónak. Mondjuk azon gondolkodom, hogy ez Bret Easton Ellis világával éppenséggel kompatibilis, igaz, az ő szereplői ezt kokainnal szimulálnák. De hát magyarságtudat is van a világon.

Démoni húzása van ennek a könyvnek. Kicsinál - de meg kell dolgozni azért, hogy ezt a(z amúgy marha kellemetlen) hatást váltsa ki belőlünk. Van ugyanis egy óriási érzelmi szakadék a kötet két fele között. Az elsőben Victort követjük jobbra-balra, aki klubot nyit, modelleket kefél, kockás a hasa, és annyira fancy, annyira menő, hogy hujjuj. Ez a vonal (nevezzük Menőség Vonalának) körülbelül a kettőszázötvenedik oldalig tart, amely kettőszázötven oldal alatt bennem többször felmerült a kérdés, hogy miért is olvasom ezt a kötetet valójában, amikor nem történik benne semmi lényeges. Nos, egyfelől a híresember-fétisem miatt, valóban. Aligha akad még egy könyv a világirodalomban, aminek a híresember/oldal együtthatója ilyen magas lenne: tömegével jönnek szembe a Johnny Deppek meg a Kate Mossok, meg a többiek, akiket ki kellett gugliznom, mert a '90-es évek bizony nem most volt. A másik, amiért a könyvben marad az ember, maga a szöveg. Például a párbeszédek, ezek a kristályfényű konstrukciók, amelyek felszínességükkel, lenyűgöző hajlékonyságukkal tökéletesen leképezik Victor világának totális értéknélküliségét és gondolattalanságát. Ezeket a párbeszédeket (meg egyáltalán: ezeket a kopogó, karcos mondatokat) Ellis valami bitang jól teszi oda, felépítve belőlük az Üresség Űrhideg Üvegpalotáját.

Aztán Victor, úgy fest, a kettőszázötvenedik oldal táján eltaknyol, Tuti Srácból totális vesztes lesz. Kénytelen hát elvállalni egy zavaros megbízást, és behajózni Európa felé. Innentől kezdve ez szemre egy másik regény: riasztó és félelmetes. Rémálom-labirintus, egy kalandregény perverz paródiája, amiből lehetetlen felébredni. Közben meg persze a két regény ugyanaz. És visszanézve világosabban látjuk, hogy ami az első etapban történt, az csak egy ravasz, nagyon ravasz felvezetés volt ahhoz a világhoz, ami az általános morális nihil törvényszerű végkifutása. A semmiből előszállingózó konfettik, a hideg, amire Victor folyton panaszkodik, a különös emlékezetkihagyások - minden egy irányba mutatott, de mi, olvasók, nem hallgattunk a jelekre, és balgán besétáltunk a csapdába. Most pedig vergődünk a brutális (mert értelmetlen - igen, pont attól brutális, hogy értelmetlen) erőszak örvényében, és nosztalgiával gondolunk vissza arra az időre, amikor Victor egyszerűen csak egy szánalmas kis csíra volt, számunkra értelmezhetetlen célokkal. Bárcsak megint abban a regényben lennénk, gondoljuk, ami az első kettőszáz-ötven oldal volt, abban az üres, de többé-kevésbé biztonságos létezésben, ahol csak a reputációnkat veszíthettük el... de nincs visszaút.

Ellis érzéssel, okosan és ráérősen rétegzi egymásra a nyomasztás fojtogató szintjeit, olyan világot teremt, ahol gyakran csak utólag ébredünk rá, hogy bizonyos dolgok nem pusztán dolgok voltak, hanem figyelmeztetések. Lehet belekötni, lehet mondani, hogy az alapozás (az ominózus kettőszáz-ötven oldal az elején) hosszú, kilöki magából az olvasót. Lehet panaszkodni továbbá arra, hogy az erőszakot túl stilizáltan ábrázolja, ami elidegenítően hat. És mindez alighanem igaz. De akárhogy is, ez a regény olyan diszkomfort zónába taszított az utolsó harmadával, hogy aludni se tudtam tőle. Komolyan, nem mertem letenni, mert arra gondoltam, ha nem olvasom végig azonnal, egészen bizonyosan kísérteni fog. Túl akartam lenni rajta, hogy eresszen el végre. És ezt most egy marha nagy bóknak szánom.
Profile Image for Mimi.
692 reviews189 followers
March 15, 2019
What? Did we end up hating each other? Did we end up the way we thought we always knew would? Did I end up wearing khakis because of that fucking ad?

This quote sums up what thIS book is about, I think... but don't take my word for it because I have no idea what this book is about. The brief summary is it's about beautiful people with some celebrity status being careless with their lives and then are surprised when nothing turns out the way they'd hoped. There's also something about a convoluted international terrorist plot, which I won't even begin to dissect. The rest of the book is about these beautiful people lamenting missed chances and lost opportunities. So basically a lot of whining, name dropping, and brand-name dropping. But what is it really about? I assume there's more to it than what I just summed up, but I have no idea what that is.

Review moved to https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Rachel Louise Atkin.
847 reviews90 followers
May 31, 2017
After finishing this book I went to bed and stared at the ceiling for ages just like... "What the f**k?" Glamorama is not only a satire of the film/modelling agency and celebrity culture, but also explores the threats of terrorism and surveillance. The first third paints a bleak portrait of the 90s high life. Victor Ward is a model, unsympathetic and shallow but represents everything about 90s minimalism and desensitisation. The importance rests on celebrity names - the only important this is where you are seen and who you are seen with. Yet this also opens up the terrifying possibilities of journalism and it's power over both celebrities and the mass public. The second third starts getting interesting as Victor realises he is in something bigger than he can understand, yet it is still shadowed under the saturation of celebrity culture that he is obsessed with.

The last 100 then completely messed me up. Like American Psycho, Ellis leaves you wondering if anything you just read even happened. Yet it is perhaps even more shocking than Psycho in its metafiction and realism. The references to the "camera" and "director" make me wonder if the whole thing was just happening on the set of a movie. I couldn't stop reading, honestly I was in absolute pieces, I still can't even deal with the intensity of what I just read. Oh my godddd.

If you aren't liking this novel then PLEASE stick it out for the last 100 pages. They are so addictive and Ellis is so clever.
Profile Image for Eugene.
2 reviews4 followers
August 20, 2007
if you were to ask my what my favorite work of fiction was, on most days, I would respond with Glamorama. Celebrity fashion models become terrorists. Photographs and appearances in the gossip columns of the worlds major newspapers begin to replace reality. Sex and drugs are consumed in mass quantities. Bombs go off. Celebrities die horrific deaths, told in a cold, obsessively detailed manner. There is a chapter long description of an passanger airlplane explosion that I now, unfortunately, think of every time I am strapped into one, preparing for takeoff. This book is not for the squeamish.
Profile Image for Read By RodKelly.
205 reviews753 followers
January 13, 2020
The young, rich, white elite of the American glitterati skizz through drug binges and forgotten jaunts of bored promiscuity; party after party and the camera’s rolling and the paparazzi’s glut divines the tenor of aqueous evenings sloshing in the zeitgeist of vapid, shallow voids; then somewhere along the jitzy route the stutter of the camera is now the vicious patter of bullets and bombs and the empty American glamorama careens butter-smooth into terrorism and torture, a blitz of haywire fluxion toward total chaos, all safely contained within pages, upon a screen, in the glassy stillness of an image, so it can’t touch you, and you’re so safe and someone else suffers while you guzzle privilege and wilt from your American excess, just waiting for the terror to materialize, and really all you have to do is look in the mirror.

Five stars earned for:

⭐️The zippy, rude dialogue
⭐️The brilliant character development and disintegration
⭐️The blunt critique of distinctly American narcissicm and the numb blindness to any tragedy or crisis that isn’t our own
⭐️The hyper-saturated descriptions of violence and sex and decadence
⭐️The almost unwieldy scale of the narrative; Ellis is a ballsy, muscular writer who deftly blurs and fuses several genres in this long, verbose novel. There are scenes of almost unbearably intense violence balanced with those of dark, humorous satire.
Profile Image for paper0r0ss0.
648 reviews44 followers
June 18, 2022
Meno di zero. Se si dovesse dare d'impulso un voto a questo libro, sarebbe questo il massimo attribuibile. Sebbene ci venga detto che il suddetto sia stato pensato, scritto, rieditato, tenuto in un cassetto a ribollire per lunghi anni di ripensamenti, il sospetto di una scrittura di maniera, fatta apposta per accontentare gli "ellisiani" e' troppo forte. Nessuna originalita' narrativa, nessun tentativo di superamento del del proprio passato stilistico. Solo la consueta, grande tecnica nei dialoghi, questo e' innegabile. Ma e' troppo poco, soprattutto perche la trama, esile trama, e' totalmente inverosimile e l'inverosimiglianza e' un peccato capitale per un libro del genere. Persino l'ultra violenza di Patrick Bateman di "American psyco" era piu' credibile di questi viziosi, ricchi modelli dinamitardi. Molto piu' interessante sarebbe stato percorrere fino in fondo il tema allucinante e inquietante dell'esistenza "in doppio", del Doppelgänger che forse ognuno di noi si tira dietro. Un Ellis piu' ispirato ne avrebbe fatto una chicca invece di lasciarlo solo intendere, tristemente abbozzato.
Profile Image for Matthew Vaughn.
Author 55 books90 followers
August 29, 2020
This could be my new favorite BEE novel, I may have to give Lunar Park another read before I can say for sure though. Yeah, it took a little bit to really get going, but once it did I was sucked in.
Profile Image for Andy.
Author 14 books136 followers
August 23, 2008
Oh my god, somebody help me. I'm a prisoner in a book that's a cross between "Party Monster", "Project Runway" and every annoying E! Network program that pretends it's not gay but is so gay even Logo won't touch it. Smarmy and irritating to the point where the satire has to be justified in your mind just to get through this mind rot. I've read comic books with more culture than this trash! Spamorama.
Profile Image for Joe.
51 reviews5 followers
May 26, 2007
I remember that I had to quit in the middle of this book because it felt like the world was collapsing in on itself. And literally, Glamorama does. It is so dense, that just like a black hole, it sucks everything in, even gravity.
It is the story of Victor post-Camden, now a high profile model/celebutante!?! This is the reason why I picked it up. I love how B.E.E. makes for creating a whole new world for his characters. The novel is half espionage and half drug-induced. If you want to escape into another world, jump on in.
Profile Image for Laura ☾.
815 reviews269 followers
November 3, 2020
I usually love Brett Easton Ellis, so it pains me to write this review.

The characters just lacked any depth whatsoever - I know that it's supposed to be commentary and satire of modern celebrity culture but this was actually just not pleasant to read, as the characters just didn't feel developed at all in any way or form.

Dialogue felt very very stilted, and so full of references to real celebrities that it just seems overkill *sigh* Honestly, long stretches of this felt just dull, and I really hate to say this!
Profile Image for Jose Sanz.
136 reviews55 followers
July 8, 2022
Qué barbaridad.

Esta inmensidad tiene 3 partes bien diferenciadas:

1 - su primer tramo es una sátira del mundo de las celebridades y lo que les sirve de sustento estatutario, los medios. Es más: una sátira sublime, además de divertidísima. Los días del protagonista no se rigen por el tiempo (de hecho que se mire la muñeca sin tener un reloj que le dé la hora no es sólo una simple coña a lo Zoolander, que menudo plagio y qué ganas de que trascienda el acuerdo extrajudicial por el que Easton Ellis guarda silencio al respecto sin haber ido a mayores la demanda), sino por actos sociales, ya sean inauguraciones de garitos o cenas de presentación de colecciones. La noción de tiempo en pasado y futuro sólo existe para algún comentario hiriente sobre algo pasado de moda, y siendo asi que Victor Ward vive en un eterno presente sólo articulado por la validación ajena (la gente para él son meros espejos ensanchadores de ego) los actos del pasado y las consecuencias a futuro le son cuestiones del todo ajena. Hay un momento cumbre en el que llama "bro" a su padre que parece insinuar que es retrasado mental o un eterno adolescente, pero Victor ni es falto ni un Peter Pan. Ni siquiera es un sociópata: simplemente encaja por sus circunstancias (es guapo nivel modelo y su familia gente de panoja) en un tipo de persona que no necesita saber más allá de la primera persona del singular y ahí se queda. Cuando hace daño no hay una intención o plan por detrás, simplemente ocurre por tener una cosmovisión ocupada de pleno por el YO.

2 - la cosa se pone oscura. Pero oscura a la Dennis Potter, a nivel paranoia metafísica. Hay equipos de rodaje que siguen a Victor y le dan el cue, y la gente con la que interacciona aprenden un guión. Cuando aparece el segundo equipo de rodaje y la trama de espionaje ya la cosa trasciende los momentos más extremos de paranoia pirandelliana de Potter para recabar en terrenos más próximos a Philip K Dick o Baudrillard: se altera la realidad trucando las imágenes y con ello la simulación en la que de primeras parecía consensuado el ser todos los implicados partícipes de ella. De hecho, se enarbola una teoría muy interesante: que la vida en la sociedad de la imagen es una sucesión de set pieces.

3 -Victor por fin retoma el control sobre su identidad, si no de pleno al menos el suficiente para decidir dejar de usar seudónimo. Con ello y con todo lo que le ocurre en la trama de terrorismo surge en él la noción de que los actos tienen consecuencias, así como la extensión del ámbito de sus preocupaciones a personas que no son él. Todo, obviamente, no así mascadito ni explicado tan mal como yo lo estoy haciendo, sino dejándose entrever en algún diálogo de los muchos (y geniales) que nutren toda la trama de terrorismo de alta costura.

Y el confeti.

Es que lo pienso y de los 90 no hay ningún otro libro que haya aguantado tan bien el paso del tiempo. Menuda obra maestra.

EDITO para añadir que llevo pensando varios días de qué me sonaba lo de las piezas dentales atrapadas en una estructura (pared, en este caso) y ya por fin caigo: eso también salía en El Quimérico Inquilino, de Roland Topor. Que, dicho sea de paso, tiene una atmósfera de paranoia muy del palo. Es que realmente Glamorama bien pudiera ser una actualización de esa novela.
Profile Image for Bob Wake.
Author 4 books13 followers
March 3, 2013
[Reviewed in 1999]

Bret Easton Ellis’s literary voice emerged fully-formed in his first novel, Less Than Zero, published to acclaim in 1985 when he was 20 years old and still a student at Bennington College. In stark minimalist prose Ellis chronicled the desultory world of wealthy L. A. teenagers living a hollow existence of drugs, soulless sex, casual violence, and consumer extravagance. Comparisons to F. Scott Fitzgerald and a latter day “lost generation” were drowned out by the more derisive label of “brat pack” that was soon attached to Ellis and several other hot young 1980s authors with splashy book contracts, in particular Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City) and Tama Janowitz (Slaves of New York).

All hell broke loose with Ellis’s third book, American Psycho (1990), which is one of the more genuinely shocking novels of recent years and perhaps his masterpiece. Using the same flat, emotionless narrative voice from his earlier work, Ellis clearly laid the blame for his generation’s—and the country’s—moral meltdown at the feet of Reagan’s “morning in America” symbolized by the deregulated Wall Street boom of the 1980s. American Psycho is narrated by Patrick Bateman, 26-year-old investment broker and serial murderer. The novel’s chilling deadpan style is perfectly tuned for embodying the widening gulf between rich and poor, between men and women, between exploiters and the exploited.

Ellis’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, refused to have anything to do with the horrifying and controversial manuscript. (Ellis, however, was contractually allowed to keep the sizable advance he’d been paid while writing it.) The novel was eventually published by Random House as a Vintage paperback amid protests that it be boycotted. There were a handful of critics who realized that beneath the gore, American Psycho was a sardonic satire comparable to Norman Mailer’s scabrous 1967 novel Why Are We in Vietnam?, in which a brutal Alaskan bear hunt became a metaphor for military folly.

Ellis later insisted that the theme of American Psycho wasn’t violence at all, but rather rancid consumerism. Furthermore, as if to save us the ordeal, he even recommended that readers could skip most of it once they understood that the book was reducible to the following narrative schemata: “Shopping, shopping, shopping, clothes, clothes, clothes, sex, sex, murder, shopping, shopping, clothes, murder …”

The surprise of his ambitious new 482-page novel, Glamorama, is that Ellis has reinvigorated his style with a more reader-friendly comic energy and a hapless Candide-like protagonist. Victor Ward is a typical Ellis character in many ways: a male-model and New York dance club promoter living a pampered life of easy money, easy drugs, and easy sex with multiple girlfriends. He’s also a monumental doofus and often the butt of his own vacuous insights:

“Baby, Andy once said that beauty is a sign of intelligence.”

She turns slowly to look at me. “Who, Victor? Who? Andy who?” She coughs, blowing her nose. “Andy Kaufman? Andy Griffith? Who in the hell told you this? Andy Rooney?”

“Warhol,” I say softly, hurt. “Baby …”

Even minor characters are etched with witty precision, such as interior designer Waverly Spear—“dead ringer for Parker Posey”—and her breathless inspirations for Victor’s nightclub: “I see orange flowers, I see bamboo, I see Spanish doormen, I hear Steely Dan, I see Fellini… I see the 70s, baby, and I am wet.”

For the first hundred pages or so, Glamorama maintains a screwball-comedy pace with puns, jokes, and rapid-fire dialogue. The story then proceeds to add a few more dimensions, both figuratively and literally. We meet Victor’s dour father, a U.S. senator considering a presidential bid. As a public official he’s deeply embarrassed by his son’s tabloid lifestyle. In short order Victor finds himself involved with a shadowy government agent and an overseas mission to locate and bring home one of Victor’s former girlfriends, a film starlet who may be involved with terrorists. The satire is rich: the clueless Victor is suddenly set down in the middle of an espionage thriller with overtones of everything from Hitchcock and James Bond to spoofy films like Modesty Blaise and Austin Powers.

The strangest turn taken by Glamorama is an absurdist postmodern leap that’s entirely new to Ellis’s fiction: a film crew makes an appearance midway through the book and they never leave. In fact, Glamorama evolves into a looking-glass alternate reality in which Victor is simultaneously living the book’s story and acting in a movie version of the story. It’s a fiendishly clever and complex literary ploy, with Victor adrift in a media-saturated nightmare of escalating violence. He unwittingly joins an international terrorist cell—while, at the same time, acting in a movie about an international terrorist cell—comprised of bomb-throwing fashion models.

Ellis never shies away from detailing the carnage that ensues from deadly explosions in a crowded Paris cafe, or a train, or a 747 in flight. And the novel’s most gruesome locale: a basement torture chamber used by the terrorists to punish and/or execute anyone who gets in their way. Here is where Glamorama revisits the graphic horrors of American Psycho, reconfigured this time around for a commentary on real-world violence versus the comfortable distance we’re used to from CNN and newspaper accounts of geopolitical struggles. Ellis would no doubt approve of us skipping over the stomach-churning passages in Glamorama once we get the “point” that real violence is repulsive.

The ideology of the terrorists is never specified and Ellis demurs from offering anything like the critique of right-wing politics that kept American Psycho focused in its outrage. (Psycho-killer Patrick Bateman makes a sick-joke cameo appearance in Glamorama. Several of the characters in the new novel, including Victor himself, also appear in Ellis’s 1987 book, The Rules of Attraction.)

Is Glamorama for everyone? Not a chance. But in an era when Thomas Harris’s grim flesh-eating opus, Hannibal, can shoot to the top of the summer bestseller list, I’m beginning to suspect Bret Easton Ellis has a larger potential audience than previously assumed.
Profile Image for Mathew.
44 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2012
[March 29 - You know it's a bad sign when you continue reading a book purely to figure out how best to describe what's wrong with it.]

Someone once said that writing a bad review of a novel is like destroying an ice cream cone with a sledgehammer. And generally I agree with that. But books that are glaringly dedicated to nothing but the machinery of commerce are begging to be smashed. Such a book is Glamorama. I don't mind the content which - a relentlessly dull litany of petty pretty people and their petty concerns - still could be an enjoyable confection if mixed right. But the narrative is so devoid of (for lack of a better term) 'heart' that the process of reading it feels like biting into what should be a truffle to find just baker's chocolate inside.

And yet something keeps me reading... for the time being... and that something is... well, the occasional distant reminder of Less Than Zero which did everything right that this book does wrong, including, possibly most importantly, a respect for brevity.

But Less Than Zero, excuse me, had aspirations to explore the human condition rather than giggle and simper and gossip about it. Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was vision, talent, a stroke of inspiration. In any case, in my opinion, since then, BEE has been content to (or condemned to) serve up ever larger, ever duller reminders of the original.

PS - confession - I haven't actually read LTZ in 25 years, but I think I'll go back and see if it holds up. I'll keep you posted.
Profile Image for Matt.
1,013 reviews652 followers
August 11, 2015

Some feminist critic (I think it was Kate Millet) once criticized John Updike for being "a penis with a thesaurus".

This is a pretty devastating critique, I think. Not because it's so dead-on accurate as much as it's catchy, funny, easy to remember and makes its point with elegant precision. It's (most likely) totally wrong and unfair and such (I haven't read much Updike, to be honest) but that also makes it kind of awesome in a sniping, political-cartoon kind of way.

Taking a page from this person (I'm pretty sure it was Kate Millet) I'm going to say right here and now that Bret Easton Ellis is an AmEx with a thesaurus.

Woah. I know, I just totally did that.
Profile Image for Benson Lott.
14 reviews2 followers
October 28, 2010
I have read this book many times and of course the first time through, much like with Imperial Bedrooms, I felt overwhelmed. Mr. Ellis is the most gifted writer I have read. His attention to detail borderlines on obsessive compulsive and yet he spins it all in such a way that I felt mesmerized. I cannot recommend his work enough. However, there are many who probably won't be able to handle his brutal honesty. Sadly, they will miss out. The deeper the cut, the more it bleeds. I appreciate anyone who isn't afraid to cut all the way through.
3 reviews
June 25, 2008
Okay, I'm just beginning the part of the book where the "action" truly begins.

But I think I have to stop.
And it's not because it's boring, or shallow, or intensely materialistic. I've actually been kind of digging that stuff (the celebrity name lists, the hilariously shallow conversations, the utter stupidity of Victor as he moves from fuck to dangerous fuck..)

I honestly am not sure I can finish reading the book without being sucked into this FUCKED-UP SHIT. Please, please, excuse my french, but I don't think I was ready to read this book. Maybe its the fact that I'm sixteen, maybe it's that the first half was so banal, so utterly ridiculous, such an anesthetic to the violence splayed out on the pages I'm reading now. Its like a literary blood spatter. On these pages. I didn't sleep last night. Well, I slept, but in a very odd state of thinking about this book while I was sleeping, and being conscious that I was thinking about it. I recently read the first torture scene (of Sam Ho) and the words keep running through my head. Just... ahhh.

The whole boat sequence was like an insane trip. I was on that boat. And it was so eerie, and pointless, and offsetting (the altered photograph, Marina's disappearance, the teeth, the blood, the family friends...) It was haunting. Victor was falling into something more serious than he ever imagined, and I didn't know why or how.

It goes without saying that this book is amazingly written, displaying a kind of literary genius that actually freaks me out in its ability to create a universe so complete there is NO way this could come out of one man's mind.

I just... am lost for words.
But I think I might have to read more. I keep on looking over my shoulder, and speaking like Victor, and saying "baby" a lot, and having a general sense of paranoia and pervasive fear. But I still might read more.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
August 19, 2007
I'm a big fan of Ellis, and at first was fairly nonplussed by this one. Soon enough, though, I was entirely sucked in... and not just because of the chapter-long threesome scene, upon which my friend had recommended this to me. That I actually found rather unnecessary, if well done. But I digress.

After I finished, I found myself for days afterwards thinking in the frenetic staccato tone of the narrator, which is as good an indicator as any that this book is pretty kickass.
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books336 followers
November 16, 2021
if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com

210317: bleak, bleak, bleak. also sickly hilarious portrait of an era and way of living that has not disappeared. in this satire, male model victor ward, he of fabulous abdominals, is first-person narrator too unaware exactly how stupid his life is, his motto 'the better you look, the more you see'... only one of his absurd concepts. or rather, just ways of being, as concepts suggests actual thought and he is long away from that...

starting in hyper-realised mid-90s Manhattan fashion world, victor slides along the surface of the world with countless celebrities, names likely forgotten in many cases by now- but that is kind of the point. these are not people of lasting value. satire is ellis's suit: here as in American Psycho persona is everything emptied of anything but look, people mistake each other constantly, and that they see victor in places he has never been with people he does not know, is entirely probable because victor himself starts to become unglued from anything but his image...

continuing on board cruise ship, where he gets further confused, where he gets distracted- but not enough- from his desultory 'mission' to recover some girl he does not remember, victor kind of hits the mirror at midpoint. the ship stops in fog in mid-ocean and the woman he thought he knew is said to have never been on board. and then things just get stranger. victor assumes he is still being filmed, so there is talk of 'hitting the marks' and 'extras' and confusing talks with the ‘director'...

coming to paris- when he is 'scripted' to go to london- victor discovers all the models he is working with are terrorist bombers... oh yes, this is very much Pomo, fifteen minutes of fame for either. i can only suggest it gets weird and wonderfully satirical and victor is actually sympathetic in the way none of ellis's previous characters have been. mainly because we sense he is in a 'fog', he is on the wrong side of the mirror, he is soon 'doubled' as everyone else, he is going to be some kind of sacrifice... even when he has some 'action-adventure' moment this is too clearly meaningless. 'victor' is ironic in name, and that hitler quote at the beginning makes dark sense... and great ending after exhausting journey...

note: some ultravioence/gore, but you knew that coming in. this is ellis...
Profile Image for Sarah.
22 reviews3 followers
October 6, 2008
This book is so tiresome. It drones on and on.

Where do I even begin with this book. It's really not worth me spending too much time on, however, I want revenge on this book. It's not fair that I wasted so much time on it. Life is too short. It's really long (about 540 pages) and the first 337 pages are so terrible. I wanted to put it down after page 60, but I was reading this with a book club, so I decided to attempt to stick with it. It only got worse and worse and more boring and more pointless and my hatred for it just kept growing and growing and growing and growing....until about page 337 or so.

Then all of a sudden, there is a drastic twist in the story. It was not until that plot twist that I cared even slightly to continue reading. However, I will admit that this did make me a tad interested to see what would turn up. Then it bored me for another 40 pages or so - oh to pick back up! Once it FINALLY picked up (around the last 150 pgs or so) I couldn't put it down, because, I did want to find out what would happen.

But those last pages do not override the effort it took me to read the first 400 pages. This book lacks consistency. Sure 40 pages are good, then 100 pages are TERRIBLE. Unfortunately, I just do not like books where you know NOTHING about ANYTHING that goes on until FINALLY a character just tells you all that has happened. It's stupid and anti-climactic. I found it predictable as well. It's VERY graphic and I don't really need to read a 7 page long sex scene. Cut that crap out. 2 pages are sufficient.

If B.E.E. would've taken 2 names out of every name dropping sequence, he could've shortened the book by about 50 pages. It's too much. It's cumbersome. It's terrible. Don't waste your time.

Also, if you have a fear of flying - I don't recommend reading this book.
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