Sunday, May 26, 2013

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Teen depravity in LA

Clay, an 18 year old on his Christmas break from a New England college, revisits his Beverly Hills haunts with his high school friends, witnessing excessive materiality and blatant soullessness. This was a close cousin, an echo even, of Play It As It Lays, both in lyrical prose style, and shell shocked attitude, but the stakes in this particular story were minuscule. In Play It As It Lays, Maria is dealing with a mentally ill child, a botched abortion and truly evil people. Eighteen year old Clay is dealing with too many toys and the sentimental memory of Granma’s cancer. Scenes grew boring, ripe for parody. The little jerks his friends are ridiculous, though I kept reading, compelled because this was the rare novel, debut novel especially, that got better as it went on. Clay’s adventures around West LA built to a climax. A climax of horror, really. However, ultimately the stakes may have been too low. The writing is assured and clever, but I had trouble telling all the characters (the little brats especially) apart.  I will read more of Ellis, however.

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