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Less Than Zero Paperback – June 30, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a
world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money a place devoid of feeling or
Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and re-enters a landscape of
limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porches, dines at Spago,
and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his
best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin. Clay's holiday
turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy
mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.
Top Customer Reviews
So what's the big deal? Booze, sex, and drugs might be fun to *do* for four weeks, but reading about them for 200 pages sounds like it might get old. And it does. You begin to lose track of the characters, because there are so many of them. You begin to forget where Clay was this morning, where he was last night, what day and what time it is right now. You begin to stop caring how much crack he smokes or how many other drugs he mixes it with, whether his sex partners are male or female. You stop worrying that his parents might catch him, that he'll have a bad trip, that - even in 1985 - he'll get HIV.
And that's the point. The book is less a narrative than an experience. The manic highs and desperate lows of Clay's existence will blur together and you'll grow confused about the purpose of your own life. The 200 pages of this book - with large print, and broken up into easy-to-handle page-long vignettes - will become 200 minutes of ebb and flow, the swell of a wave under which you, because you aren't the one doing all those drugs, will never become trapped.
Be aware that this book can be frustrating. The central conflict is an internal one, and only vaguely delineated, and never really resolved. The book seems to end not because it is finished with the story it tells but because it has reached the end of its allotted span.Read more ›
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Bret Easton Ellis's "Less than Zero" is a fine little primer on how the Rich & Famous live and die in LA, with Clay as our Virgil in this descent into a 1980's Dante's Inferno peopled by the Lithium-addled (but thin, baby, thin! and tan! and loaded! filthy stinking rich, Maserati country baby!)Walking Dead. Tunes, by the way, courtesy of Duran Duran and Psychedelic Furrs.
He goes to lots of parties: celebrity parties, pre-movie deal parties at Spago with his movie producer Dad and his estranged mother, etc. He does a lot of good drugs. He does a lot of bad drugs. He drives around in his Mercedes. At times he practically shoves whole boxes of Kleenex up his brutalized, quivering snout to calk up the torrent of blood & snot, the collateral damage of his cocaine habit. He scopes out corpses in alleys.
"Less than Zero" proves you really can't go Home again, particularly if Home really wasn't much of a place to begin with.Read more ›
The book, about an eighteen year old who returns home to L.A. after his first year of college, is deeply rooted in the idea that underneath a lot of things is a darker side. Ellis takes the reader into a place that people thought was only a myth, where sex is as casual as conversation, snorting cocaine is like eating dinner and spending time with your family is like having a root canal.
The book is sad beucase it depcits a generation that is lost. They have seen too much at far too young an age. Clay'y (the main character) little sister says to him "We can get our own (coke)." She's thirteen years old.
Ellis has done a great job of capturing a mind frame. These people love the life. Clay is seen as an outcast when he is shocked by what he sees. There are sertain passages about Clay's past that are written with such eeriness, they made me shiver. The book acutally gave me feelings of paranoia when I read it. This book is wonderful and is a lot more than less than zero. It is highly enjoyable and interesting. It is one of the darkest, most original, most frightening books I have read in years. It is well worth the time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for this book. I'd seen the movie years ago and it had quite an impact on me. I'd have to say this is one of those rare cases in my opinion - the movie was better... Read morePublished 1 month ago by sabrina
He wrote this book while he was 19 years old and still in college. It's truly impressive. I love his books. In fact, I'm a little jealous that he was this good at such a young age. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sara Bonacum
Such a great writer/thinker
Less than Zero is killer!!
don't miss his most recent interview as well http://www.stillinrock.com/p/bret-easton-ellis.html
I need to remember that a TWENTY year-old wrote this, when in my middle-age, I still wouldn't be able to write a story anywhere as interesting or fast-paced as his. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jack
I found this book immensely interesting. Clay's semi-nihilistic narration presents a very cold, matter-of-fact ton for the depraved, awful stuff happening around him, and in turn... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tombert