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The Informers Paperback – August 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
THE INFORMERS (1994), seems, at first glance, to be nothing more than a collection of short stories and drafts for Ellis' more ambitious novelistic projects ("The Secrets of the Summer," for instance, reads like an early version of AMERICAN PSYCHO). It is far more than that, however. Each story connects with all of the others; the book has an inner continuity that is staggeringly intricate. There are complicated interchanges between the "characters"; each one of them is absolutely interchangeable with everyone else.
THE INFORMERS is set in Los Angeles in the 1980s. No one in the book has an individuated personality. All of the characters take Valium and drink Tab. All of them say the same things and have the same desires. Indeed, all of Ellis' "characterologies" are the same. This is not a flaw in his novelistic practice. It is, rather, a sign of his writerly strength. In "The Up-Escalator," a middle-aged woman cannot distinguish her son, Graham, from any of the other tall, blond boys that populate the novel. In "In the Islands," William cannot distinguish his son, Tim, from Graham. One stoned pool boy is identical to another stoned pool boy.
"Perfection," it would seem, might be bought and sold in mass quantities. According to the logic of the work, one's identity is founded upon the products one buys. Because products are available in mass quantities, identity is also available in mass quantities. If commodities are equivalent to each other (through the medium of money), there is no reason that identities should not be posited as equivalent as well.Read more ›
Perhaps one reason Ellis' work is so enticing is that we as humans are captivated by watching others behave more badly than ourselves; taking their wretchedness to the extreme, so to speak, and acting more perversely than we would ever dare or imagine. To some degree, we find depravity fun to read about. Few (if any) of Ellis' characters are sympathetic, and yet most of us probably feel some level of horrified sympathy for them anyway for the way they are destroying themselves and don't even recognize it. That said, his characters don't need to be sympathetic in order to be interesting, or to seem realistic.
The Informers is a collection of loosely-connected stories set in 1980's California, primarily Los Angeles. Each chapter is told from a different narrator's voice and it is sometimes unclear whether they are male or female until several pages into the story. While certain characters appear in multiple stories, there does not seem to be a great deal of importance in keeping track of who is who most of the time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's No American Psycho, and I'm still waiting on my copy of Less Than Zero which Chuck Palahniuk turned me on to. Palahniuk's new book A Beautiful You is hilarious. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mathew Lee Dean
There's good and there's bad in this collection of short stories, written in the same video-clip style Ellis used in "Less than Zero. Read morePublished 14 months ago by lory lanfranchi
This book jumped all over. The characters were confusing and the narrative was in the first person and employed too many to know who was narrating. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tom Markley
Basically came overnight. Book looks like it was carried around and enjoyed. Fit right in with the others. Thanks so much.Published 17 months ago by Sonny Nicholas
I get so depressed reading BEE's books, but i always come back for more. There is a little bit of each character in all of us.Published 21 months ago by Debra A. Villa
This book's ensemble of stories are interesting and parts of it may be a little disturbing. Of course, I enjoy that about the book, but some of you may find it uncomfortable. Read morePublished on May 20, 2014 by Jeremiah Toller
Quick read. Took me a while to tell the difference between the characters because the voice wasn't too distinct, but after about thirty pages it got easier to follow. Read morePublished on April 11, 2014 by Booklover13
A great story with creepy imagery but with a social message we are not accustomed to hearing. You should read it!Published on September 4, 2013 by sponbel