Imagine becoming a best-selling 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 son's 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.
- New York Times Notable Books of the Year
Having ridden to fame as the laureate of Reagan-era excesses, Ellis serves up a self-eviscerating apologia for all the awful things (wanton drug use, reckless promiscuity, serial murder) he worked so hard to glamorize. Narrated faux memoir style by a character named Bret Easton Ellis, author of bestsellers, L.A. native, friend to Jay McInerney, the book seeks to make obvious its autobiographical elements without actually remaining true to the facts. In the novel, Ellis marries B-list actress Jayne Dennis (with whom he'd fathered a child years earlier), moves to the New York City suburbs and begins working on his latest neo-porn shocker, Teenage Pussy, when things start to go awry. His house becomes possessed by strange, threatening spirits intent on attacking his family and transforming their home into the pink stucco green shag disaster of Ellis's childhood; a well-read stalker begins acting out,victim by victim, the plot of American Psycho; and the town becomes enthralled by a string of child abductions (oddly, only the boys are disappearing) that may or may not be the work of Ellis's son. This is a peculiar novel, gothic in tone and supernatural in conceit, whose energy is built from its almost tabloidlike connection to real life. As a spirit haunting Ellis's house tells him, "I want you to reflect on your life. I want you to be aware of all the terrible things you have done. I want you to face the disaster that is Bret Easton Ellis." Ultimately, though, the book reads less like a roman a clef than as a bizarre type of celebrity penance. The closest contemporary comparison is, perhaps, the work of Philip Roth, who went for such thinly veiled self-criticism earlier in his career, but Roth's writing succeeded on its own merits, whereas Lunar Park begs a knowledge of Ellis's celebrity and the casual misanthropy his books espoused. Yet for those familiar with Ellis's reputation, the book is mesmerizing, easily his best since Less than Zero. Maybe for the first time, Ellis acknowledges that fiction has a truth all its own and consequences all too real. It is his demons who destroy his home, break up his family and scuttle his best chance at happiness and sobriety. As a novel by anyone else, Lunar Park would be hokum, but in context, it is a fascinating look at a once controversial celebrity as a middle-aged man. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 30, 2005
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Excerpt from Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis
"You do an awfully good impression of yourself."
This is the first line of Lunar Park and in its brevity and simplicity it was supposed to be a return to form, an echo, of the opening line from my debut novel, Less Than Zero.
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"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."
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Since then the opening sentences of my novels ' no matter how artfully composed ' had become overly complicated and ornate, loaded down with a heavy, useless emphasis on minutiae.
My second novel, The Rules of Attraction, for example, began with this:
and it's a story that might bore you but you don't have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it was, she thinks, her first year, or actually weekend, really a Friday, in September, at Camden, and this was three or four years ago, and she got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was eighteen) in Lorna Slavin's room, because she was a Freshman and had a roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or Junior and usually sometimes at her boyfriend's place off-campus, to who she thought was a Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed To Get Screwed party, or a townie.
The following is from my third novel, American Psycho.
ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Mis ' rables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so.