Maya Panika's Reviews > Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
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Sep 12, 2008

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Bret Easton Ellis documents the life of Clay, eighteen years old, back home in LA for the holidays from his New England college. Clay does little. He moves in a daze, from bedroom to pool to parties and tense family dinners, watching the lives of his family and friends – mostly fellow teens with no direction, too much money and too much freedom – their parents all divorced and mostly absent.

The style is choppy- deliberately so – as Clay’s thoughts and feelings grasshopper through observations and feelings. Emotionally detached, he watches his world with the blinds drawn, numbed by a haze of sex, drugs and alcohol, witness to the slow-motion death-dives of the lives around him as his friends compete in an endless, no-holds-barred search for ever bigger and more contemptible thrills to alleviate the ennui of their hopeless lives.

Darkly pessimistic, Less than Zero confused me; why did I keep reading? Nothing really happens. There is virtually no plot and the only character development is that of Clay himself and his slow realisation that he’s living in Hell.

Clay’s final vow to leave LA and never return is the final word in a book that goes nowhere but is, nevertheless, always disturbing, fascinating and compelling.
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