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Lunar Park Paperback – August 29, 2006
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Imagine becoming a bestselling novelist, and almost immediately famous and wealthy, while still in college, and before long seeing your insufferable father reduced to a bag of ashes in a safety-deposit box, while after American Psycho your celebrity drowns in a sea of vilification, booze, and drugs.
Then imagine having a second chance ten years later, as the Bret Easton Ellis of this remarkable novel is given, with a wife, children, and suburban sobriety--only to watch this new life shatter beyond recognition in a matter of days. At a fateful Halloween party he glimpses a disturbing (fictional) character driving a car identical to his late father's, his stepdaughter's doll violently "malfunctions," and their house undergoes bizarre transformations both within and without. Connecting these aberrations to graver events--a series of grotesque murders that no longer seem random and the epidemic disappearance of boys his sons age--Ellis struggles to defend his family against this escalating menace even as his wife, their therapists, and the police insist that his apprehensions are rooted instead in substance abuse and egomania.
Lunar Park confounds one expectation after another, passing through comedy and mounting horror, both psychological and supernatural, toward an astonishing resolution--about love and loss, fathers and sons--in what is surely the most powerfully original and deeply moving novel of an extraordinary career.
In his novel Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis takes first-person narrative to an extreme, inserting himself (and a host of real characters from the publishing world) into the haunting story of a drugged-out famous writer living in the suburbs trying to reconnect with his wife and son and reconcile his damaged past. Ellis is at the top of his game in Lunar Park, his first novel since 1999's Glamorama, delivering a disturbing and delirious novel about celebrity, writers, and fathers and sons (not to mention a cameo from notorious Ellis creation, Patrick Bateman). Amazon.com senior editor Brad Thomas Parsons spoke with Ellis in a Seattle to Los Angeles phone call to talk about the fact and fiction behind Lunar Park, New York versus LA, '80s music, and the whole "American Psycho thing."
Read the Amazon.com interview with Bret Easton Ellis
Published when Ellis was a junior at Bennington, Less Than Zero is the mesmerizing first-person chronicle of Clay, our laconic, zoned-out guide to a subculture of over-privileged nihilism in early '80s Los Angeles. He travels back home from Camden College (a thinly veiled Bennington) for Christmas break and re-enters his circle of jaded friends--including his ex-girlfriend Blair, and his best friend Julian, who's now hustling to support his drug habit--and a parade of Porches, late-night parties, cocaine, and casual destruction.
Ellis on Ellis: "I don't think it's a perfect book by any means, but it's valid. I get where it comes from. I get what it is. There's a lot of it that I wish was slightly more elegantly written. Overall, I was pretty shocked. It was pretty good writing for someone who was 19."
A line-up of Camden College students share the narrating duties in The Rules of Attraction, Ellis' sex-fueled, drug-baked second novel. There's Lauren (who's in the midst of losing her virginity as the book opens), who longs for her boyfriend Victor, currently traveling through Europe; Lauren's ex, Paul, a bisexual party boy who hooks up with hard-drinking closet-case Sean (surname Bateman--that's right, younger brother of Patrick), who also has the hots for Lauren. Less than Zero's Clay makes a cameo appearance as well as a passing glimpse of Ellis' Bennington classmate Donna Tartt's murderous Classics majors from The Secret History.
Ellis on Ellis: "It might be my favorite book of mine. I was writing that book while I was at college. Sort of like the best of times, the worst of times. There was a lot of elation, there was a lot of despair. It was just a really fun book to write. I loved mimicking all the different voices. The stream of conscious does get a little out of hand. I kind of like that about the book. It's kind of all over the place. It's casual. It's scruffy. That's the one book of mine that I have a very, very soft spot for."
Shopaholic sociopath Patrick Bateman's killer grip drags readers into a bloody, brand-name, urban nightmare as the 26-year-old Wall Street yuppie executes his grooming habits and eviscerates strangers with equal élan. Simon & Schuster dropped the too-hot-to-handle American Psycho which was then published as a paperback original by Vintage Books. Ellis received death threats while the book was boycotted, sliced up by reviewers, and went on to become a bestseller. Mary Harron's 2000 film version starred then little-known British actor Christian Bale, who would later suit up as the Dark Knight in 2005's Batman Begins.
Ellis on Ellis: "It was good. It was fun. It was not nearly as pretentious as I remember I wanted it to be when I was writing it. I found it really fast-moving. I found it really funny. And I liked it a lot. The violence was... it made my toes curl. I really freaked out. I couldn't believe how violent it was. It was truly upsetting. I had to steel myself to re-read those passages."
Ellis returns to early '80s Los Angeles ennui with The Informers, a loosely connected collection of stories of the bored, rich, and morally depraved, written around the same time as Less than Zero. Sex, drugs, and gratuitous violence take center stage, with characters including an aging, predatory anchorwoman, a debauched rock star tearing through Japan, and a pick-up artist vampire. While some of the vignettes echo better Ellis works, ultimately the stories don't add to much as a whole. Book critics are less than receptive to Ellis' post-American Psycho offering.
Ellis on Ellis: "Those were written while I was at Bennington. I wrote a lot of short stories between 1981 or 1982 or so... The Informers more or less kind of represented probably the best of those stories. I wrote a lot of really bad ones, but those are the ones that worked the best together."
Actor-model Victor Ward (who first made an appearance in the Ellis oeuvre in The Rules of Attraction) is the narrator of Glamorama, Ellis longest novel yet. Ellis offers bold-faced names and celebrity skewering in the first half of the book as Victor tries to open a Manhattan club while cheating on his supermodel girlfriend and double-crossing his partner, but the second half takes a violent, paranoid turn as Victor is sent to England and unwittingly lured into a sadistic ring of international terrorists (posing as supermodels) leaving a bloody trail across the globe.
Ellis on Ellis: "[T]he book wasn't necessarily about terrorism to me. It was about a whole bunch of other stuff. It's definitely the book that I can tell--I don't know if other people can tell but I can tell as a writer--is probably the most divisive that I've written. It has an equal number of detractors as it does fans. It doesn't really hold true with the other books. It was the one that took the longest to write, and the one that seemed the most important at the time. It's an unwieldy book... I like it."
The Rules of Attraction
Visit the author's Web site at www.2brets.com.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Patrick Bateman, the sociopath of American Psycho, is back, or at least Bret Easton Ellis thinks so. That's Bret Easton Ellis the character, not Bret Easton Ellis the author, except the character is also the author of American Psycho. The truth is, it's hard to sort truth from fiction in Ellis' latest novel. Van Der Beek (who starred as Sean Bateman, Patrick's younger brother in the film adaptation of Ellis's Rules of Attraction) does a fabulous job of playing a nihilistic, bored, paranoid and endlessly irresponsible writer. Though the character is drug-addled for a large portion of the book, Van Der Beek does not portray the stupor in his voice; instead he recounts Ellis's keen observations with the perfect sense of removal and lack of ownership. This distance serves well the horror genre that Ellis flirts with: the listener experiences everything through the main character's eyes, though that character has a reputation for being less than reliable. The Ellis character is done so smoothly that one may think that we are hearing Van Der Beek's natural tone. It is not until hearing him read the smaller roles of the other characters that the listener realizes the range of his capabilities.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The first chapter of "Lunar Park" may be the most clever thing Ellis has ever written. It's an autobiography that agrees with every bad review, every unflattering press article ever written about the guy. He says he wrote all his books under the influence of drugs, quickly and for the money; he's a monster of sexual promiscuity and excess who incidentally sired a son out of wedlock more than 10 years before. He recounts his tortured relationship with his late father (to whom "Lunar Park" is dedicated). You get the feeling here that Ellis is burning down the edifice of his public career, burning all the bridges to his past. It's hilarious and horriying, and must have taken a lot of courage to write.
The first half of "Lunar Park" is mesmerizing (I managed to finish the book in one night.Read more ›
And then there's the writing. It's wonderful. There's a passage on p.55 - "The newspapers kept stroking my fear. New surveys provided awful statistics on just about everything..." - that offers one of the better descriptions of the post-9/11 mindset I've come across. And the last few pages, in which Ellis makes a shaky truce with the ghost of his father, are heartbreaking (my eyes filled up - I'm not kidding).Read more ›
Starting in Chapter 2, the strange occurrences in his small Northeast college town start taking place. Ellis is, for the first time, trying to live a family life with the mother of his eleven-year-old son, as well as her younger daughter by another man. Ellis is haunted my memories of his father, his father's death, and mysterious emails at the time of night when his father died. Then murders ala Patrick Bateman from American Psycho start occurring in the town (but not in the newspapers), and the Ellis household starts to unravel completely. No one believes Ellis's accounts of the hauntings due to his excessive drinking and drug use. Ellis himself casts doubt on many of the occurrences. His children witness some of the hauntings, but prove to be unreliable witnesses when questioned by other grown-ups after the fact.
One shocking aspect of the book has nothing to do with the hauntings, but with Ellis's conflict with his super-children and the way privileged youngsters are raised these days. Ellis is coming off being a hard-partying self-reliant (but not completely functional) man, and it is hard for him to relate to his children, who are on numerous cocktails of medications to perfect their behavior.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reading anything by Bret Easton Ellis is an emotional trip. Not just for the work...which is always captivating... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Ellis understands fatherhood, suburbia, and the constant pull of a man toward his baser instincts better than any man who's been an actual father, lived in the suburbs, and has... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Phillips
Um, this is the most entertaining narration I've ever heard of an audiobook. For real. The Beek has a perfect way of narrating in subtle, well-paced tones and insinuations,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Douglas Elfman
I have read all the works of Bret Easton Ellis. Like all of his books, I always need to walk away and think about the book for several days and organize my thoughts before I can... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kris Sanderson
Lunar Park starts off great - it's a riotous piss-take of literary celebrity, blending fact and fiction into a trippy Bret Easton Ellis world that is not Less Than Zero or... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Surferofromantica
Lunar Park might tie for Ellis's best novel with Glamorama and American Psycho if it doesn't beat out both of them. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Ziln
This is one of BEE's best books and also one of the best books i've read in a long timePublished on October 24, 2014 by Debra A. Villa
I loved this....in all it's bizarre, Bret Easton Ellis glory. I didn't want it to end.Published on October 19, 2014 by sarah