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Glamorama Hardcover – December 29, 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 339 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Glamorama is a satirical mass-murder opus more ambitious than Bret Easton Ellis's 1990 American Psycho. It starts as a spritz-of-consciousness romp about kid-club entrepreneur Victor Ward, "the It boy of the moment," an actor-model up for Flatliners II. Ellis has perfect pitch for glam-speak, and he gives nightlife the fizz, pace, and shimmer it lacks in drab reality. Anyone could cite the right celeb names and tunes, but like a rock-polishing machine, his prose gives literary sheen to fame-chasing air-kissers. He's coldly funny: when Victor's girl tries to argue him out of a breakup, she angrily snorts six bumps of coke, stops, mutters, "Wrong vial," snorts four corrective doses from whatever she has in her other fist, then objects to a rival at the party wearing the same dress she's wearing.

You had to be there; Ellis makes you feel you are. But such satire is a very smart bomb targeting a very large barn. Models' status anxiety doesn't merit Ellis's Tom Wolfe-esque expertise. Glamorama gets better when Victor gets drafted into a mysterious group of model-terrorists who bomb 747s and the Ritz in Paris, wearing Kevlar-lined Armani suits. Oh, they still behave like shallow snobs, pronouncing "cool" as if it had 12 o's. But now when somebody swills Cristal, it's apt to be poisoned, to horrific effect, which Ellis expertly, affectlessly describes. His enfant-terrible debut, Less Than Zero, aped Joan Didion. Now Ellis has grown into a lesser Don DeLillo--and that's high praise. --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

The evil twin of fellow brat-packer Jay McInerney's Model Behavior, Ellis's (The Informers) bad trip through glitterary New York has everything his fans (and critics) have come to expect: graphic sex, designer drugs, rock 'n' roll allusions, splatterpunk violence and characters as deep as 8"x10" glossies. Protagonist Victor Ward, a "model-slash-loser," is opening his own trendy Manhattan club while cheating on his supermodel girlfriend and back-stabbing his partner. After some adventures in clubland, the plot takes a turn for the paranoid. Victor is recruited by a mysterious figure, F. Fred Palakon, to track down a former girlfriend gone missing in London. There he becomes unwillingly drawn into a terrorist group?run, like so much else in the novel, by a supermodel?that bombs fashionable hangouts, hotels and jetliners. Throughout, Ellis clutters his hallmark proper-noun realism with excessive name-dropping and strung-out plotting. The satirist in Ellis seems to want to indict celebrity-obsessed, materialistic and superficial contemporary culture. With this novel he, perhaps unwittingly but certainly ironically, provides Exhibit A. 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 481 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (December 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375404120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375404122
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It was hard for me to admit, after finishing "Glamorama," but Ellis is one of the most original satirists we have working today. Hard because I used to buy the criticism about his trendiness, the endless pop-culture references masking a lack of vision. Not so: in fact, one great irony of our ironic fin-de-siecle culture is that so many critics fail to recognize real irony! Folks, the vapidity and the inconsistency of the pop culture cataloging is done deliberately--deliberately--to invoke a sense of the impermanence and interchangeablity. I've read the hacks who think pop culture references are substitutes for cultural commentary; hell, most of them write for magazines, TV and Hollywood. Ellis, if you're willing to cut him the slack you'd cut any other writer who isn't Ellis, is cut from a different and classically American jib. His is a moral satire akin to some of the works of Hawthorne, West, even Fitzgerald. The use of surrealism in this work is probably it's shakiest premise because it asks you, de facto, to surrender your need for clear cut reality; this really is nothing new in writing. Glamorama works when you accept its surrealism instead of working against it. Why people work so hard to put this writer down, especially after the knee-jerk reaction to the underrated American Psycho (a very funny book!), is not hard to see. They mistake the writer for the soulless, vapid yuppie partyboys of his novels. Here's the news: Ellis is really one of the most talented and traditional writers working today. He deserves at least a little credit.
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Format: Paperback
I consider myself a fan of Mr. Ellis' writing. Each of his books has a different point of satire, and each skewers its target mercilessly. Glamorama surpassed surpassed all of his works before it.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most horrific, hilarious, and many other words starting with "h" novels I have ever read.
Victor Ward and his "friends" are everything I've ever dreamed and feared New York City society is like. At first, the book seems to be about quite possibly the most insipid male model in history. But Ellis had a lot more in his sights: what celebrity does to our perceptions of ourselves; how we can let ourselves become passengers in our own lives; and how we've become inured to violence in the media and movies.
This book has such an incredibly slowly developed sense of menace and spiraling insanity, that I didn't even realize it was there until it was already too late. Which is exactly what happens to Victor in the novel.
I'll say this. I read this every morning on the subway into work, and found myself alternatingly cackling with laughter, and clutching the handstrap for support. I don't think I've ever had such a visceral reaction to a book before.
One of the most shocking, surprising, novels I've ever read. It's definitely not for the easily queasy, but otherwise, I cannot recommend it enough.
*A little note: I'd also recommend reading Rules of Attraction before picking this up.
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Format: Paperback
The above quotation, spoken by the protagonist, Victor Ward, sums up in true Easton Ellis style the themes of this fantastic novel. The quotation, like the whole book (and most of Ellis' writing) can be understood in a number of ways and a reader can find within it many layers of meaning. This isn't a book for everyone, and people who read "American Psycho" and took it literally rather than as a satirical commentary should definitely not read Glamorama. If you can take the above quote, though, with its proper irony and all the meanings that Ellis lays out in this book, you'll really enjoy the whole book. A word of caution, though: though Ellis is rarely what I'd call linear in his narrative in any case, this book may strike some as particularly jumbled or nonsensical. It sort of needs to be read like you'd watch "Mulholland Drive." If that kind of analysis and symbol-seeking is your thing, as it is mine, you'll like this book. But even if you are left confused, the hilarious name-dropping and continuous 90's pop-culture references make it well worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
Many of the reviews I have read on this book have said that they liked the first half of the book, because it was "funny", but were completely thrown off by the second half of the book. If you are of this opinion, you are willing only to digest the shallow surface of this book, and are completely ignoring the actual meaning. Honestly, the mental image i get in my head when I think of this book is of Victor Ward leaning over vomiting on the ground. I don't think that any part of this book was meant to be funny. Yes, some of the exchanges and dialogue in the book could be seen as comical, but they are presented not for entertainment but to show the shallowness of hollywood glitz. I believe that Ellis put these in intending for the reader to be disgusted at the way life is for his characters. There is no way this book was intended to be a light and comical novel, the author struggled for years and years to complete it and Ellis himself stated that the book nearly killed him. That sure doesn't sound like the testimony of someone who was trying to write a book for humor. I wouldn't recommended this book to everyone, but I do recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the obscure of absurd. I personally absolutely loved the book, and I'll admit that the second half of the book threw me off track at first, but I soon loved it. The second half of the book may either be a delusion of the main character Victor Ward, or real events, it is open to interpretation. The sense of delusion created by the second half of the book mirrors the frenzied terror of protagonist Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. In many parts of American Psycho the reader wasn't sure whether Bateman was imagining events or not, which I felt was a very cool effect.Read more ›
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