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The Informers Paperback – August 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This tedious successor to American Psycho , a patchwork of interrelated vignettes about a set of filthy rich L.A. families in the early 1980s, weds Ellis's over-the-top if one-dimensional satirical style to the sensational hedonism characteristic of Danielle Steel and the spiritual malaise of Douglas Coupland. Mobilizing his trademark first-person narrative voice, Ellis charts an amoral hyper-elitist social landscape from the interchangeable perspectives of debased Hollywood players, pseudo-celebrities and industry brats. There is Cheryl, an aging newscaster who shacks up with a narcissistic surfer and stops showing up for work; Bryan Metro, a vacuous American pop star who tours Japan leaving a wake of battered groupies and pharmaceutical bottles; Jamie, a vampire who lures teenagers home from trendy clubs and murders them in sadistic scenes reminiscent of American Psycho . Ellis's often racist characters crisscross an L.A. littered with the trendy iconography of the early 1980s (Wayfarer sunglasses, Duran Duran, designer drugs), their affectless, inarticulate sentences registering a jaded disdain for other people's lives. Ellis does not break new ground here but returns, perhaps nostalgically, to the cultural context of his celebrated first novel, Less Than Zero . Ultimately, this book is so inconsequential that it should neither vex Ellis's critics nor gratify his fans. 50,000 first printing; QPB alternate.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although billed as a novel, this work reads like a collection of 13 loosely related short stories. The characters in Chapter 1 reappear in the last chapter, and Jamie, whose death occurs in Chapter 2, may be the vampire named Jamie who later appears. None of this much matters, however, since the characters have no personality anyway. Every chapter is told by a different narrator, further preventing the reader from connecting to the characters. Set in Eighties L.A. like Ellis's debut, Less Than Zero, the book makes endless, almost obsessive references to obscure bands, upscale restaurants, and clothing of the time. For Ellis, this seems to have been a time when "people [were] becoming less human...everyone [was] operating on a very primitive level," but, unfortunately, the effect is of an era safely past. The Informers has fewer gruesome scenes than American Psycho, and its affectlessness renders them less powerful. Still, this is a disturbing book that will be requested by patrons familiar with Ellis's work.
Nora Rawlinson, formerly with "Library Journal"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780679743248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679743248
  • ASIN: 0679743243
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bret Easton Ellis is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories; his work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
When a cast of vacuous, narcissistic, bronzed Californians indulges in whatever brings them pleasure, Bret Easton Ellis is at his sardonic, cynical best. Culled from sketches begun in 1983 and eventually filling several notebooks, "The Informers" is more a tale of a group's flawed response to its culture than it is a picture of individuals.

Impossibly empty, the characters are predominantly male students who spend little time at their studies. Flouting their parents' checkbooks, they drive expensive cars, wear extravagantly priced clothes, dine at the trendiest spots, and indulge in most forms of chemical escapism.

Punctuated with dark metaphors, the author's text is hauntingly spare, offering no explanation for the characters' lives but simply presenting them. This leaves the readers to judge, gnash their teeth or gape in shocked surprise. There is room for shock. As in Ellis' "American Psycho," some very unpleasant descriptions of mayhem and murder are included.

In an interview Mr. Ellis commented, "What I've always been interested in as a writer is this idea of a group of people who seem to have everything going for them on the outside. Because of that, they have a lot of freedom. The theme of my fiction is the abuse of that freedom."

With his superior intellect and total mastery of his craft, Mr. Ellis presents his theme well.

- Gail Cooke
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Zalben on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mr. Ellis' strength is in his realistic dialogue and characters, which is well on display here in this collection of character sketches.
I say character sketches, and not short stories, because that's really what they are. A series of interconnected portraits of the different, intermingling layers of society in LA.
And it is pretty impressive at that. Each of the characters in the book are going through very similar feelings, have very similar problems (spiraling depression, enstrangement from their parents, etc.). Luckily, Mr. Ellis is able to differentiate their characters and situations.
As happens with books of this type, the ending seems to rush together more quickly, and feel more connected than the beginning. And frankly, as much respect as I have for Mr. Ellis' writing, it was exhausting to read story after story. The book is an interesting portrait of a city constantly on the edge of destruction, but there's only so much nihilistic fiction a guy can read before you curl up into a ball in the corner.
As always, Ellis is a writer worth reading. But be prepared: it is a short book, but a long haul.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "truffaut" on August 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have read "Less Than Zero", "The Rules of Attraction" and my favourite, "American Psycho". I have about thirty pages left to read in "The Informers" and I must say that the book is a mixture of all Ellis's other books. For those who say the book lacks a story or even a plot, I would say that they are sadly mistaken. The point of "The Informers" is to take you through the lives of some really twisted people and underscore their naive search for meaning, whether it be in the form of fashion, sex, or drugs and whatever else is the pleasure of the moment. The frustration of living a life devoid of meaning and the inability to discern where one can find substance is found in the Ellis's sexually rapacious vampire character. Here is guy that takes out all of his anger on women, i.e. through his violent sexual escapades and minorities, i.e. his casual, yet caustic references to "niggers" and "gooks". "The Informers" and all of Ellis's other works are windows that give you a snapshot of the nihilisitic children of the 80s. Though I believe that Ellis uses hyperbole in all of the sex, violence and senseless dialogue to get his point across, the goal of his works is to show just how empty and pointless, the life of nihilism really is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
The first book I read by Mr. Ellis was "The Rules of Attraction" and I couldn't believe how unlikable his characters were and how casual they were about sex and drugs and failing school. Well, you can imagine how surprised I was to read this one, which is a collection of vig nettes about horrible, morally-devoid rich and beautiful people in L.A. For some reason, though, it was a relatively easy read, and I kept going back to it, fascinated with how natural the characters spoke about things that would absolutely blow my mind to experience in my own boring life. These characters don't really have worries, and if they do, they're nothing compared to the average person's worries. Somehow, this book ends up making you feel both bummed and enlightened. Probably, for me any way, because you're sorry that there are walking corpses in L.A. who don't care about anything and are affected by nothing, but the enlightenment exists because I can al! so take solace in the fact that I'm not one of them. Mr. Ellis is my favorite author, and I liked the book, but it is definitely not your average reader's cup of tea.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Informers is a novel composing of fragmentary stories mixing up characters who are distinguished only by their conformity. They are all rich, all tan, all psychically rootless and morally deracinated, and all dysfunctional. They go through life as beneficiaries of capitalism, with no apparent purpose other than to enjoy pleasure in capsule form, take drugs, drink and discuss and 'enjoy' their material wealth. Ellis has done this theme before in his early 20s novels. Reading it is rather like the sensation when you are hungover or exhausted - you are successfully numbed into a world which is not entirely unpleasant, but you can't do anything constructive.

American Psycho, which preceeded this work, was a masterpiece - justly one of the top novels anywhere of the past 20 years. But this novel lacks the arrowing Celine style satirical bite and bats forward cliches of the mindless super rich in capsule form.
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