10.2.10

Bret Easton Ellis - Less Than Zero


Rating 6.5

Re-read (and finished at this time, oh jeez) one year after the very first attempt of mine.
Mmmh.
Not that bad. But not that good either.
Less Than Zero is smart but it's what one may call an artificial smartness somehow.

On my bookshelf the novel followed the reading of Bright Lights, Big City by Jay Mc Inerney that was once seen as the East Coast counterpart of this book but whose fame faded quite soon.

I might disagree with that vision and say there is not so much in common between the two novels.
Apart from snorting blizzards of cocaine in public toilets, messy bedrooms and as a substitute for any given proper meal, I mean.

In fact, where Jay Mc Inerney is wordy and humour-flavoured, Bret Easton Ellis is minimalist and deeply fatalist.

Furthermore, Jay sounds somewhat British to me (is the infamous Ivy League influence?), while Bret is totally - even too much - American-like with all the negative stereotypes included.
So, here it comes my personal suggestion:
don't lend Less Than Zero to a staunch anti-American guy as you could give him/her plenty of topics for the following six months. And over.

Bright Lights Big City is like Holden Caulfield dating Bartleby The Scrivener and Ivana Trump in an early Sex & The City pilot where Nick Hornby wrote the script and Rudy Giuliani forgot the neon tubes on.

Less Than Zero is like getting stoned wearing a Devo t-shirt in a Mtv serie releasing party held in a Valley mall and hosted by the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 while watching Reservoir Dogs with the audio off.

But this was exactly the effect Bret Easton Ellis wanted to have, I guess, so it's not that disturbing as it should sound.
Plus, Bret EE was able to write this stuff years before Brenda & Kelly were killing their uptown spleen with compulsive shopping and Quentin Tarantino was going to teach us how to resuscitate Uma Thurman after an overdose. And for this reason Bret deserves to be praised a little bit.

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