Los Angeles-born writer who rose to fame in The Eighties
as one of the "Literary Brat Pack"— and probably the most successful of this group. Works include:
Alongside the controversy of these books, Ellis is a fairly public figure, whose Twitter account and public quotes skirt the edges of misogyny and misanthropy. In short, Ellis is a terrific writer who isn't all right in the head.Bret's podcast
on Podcast One
.com, which updates every Monday.
This author's works provide examples of:
- As Himself: Lunar Park is narrated in first person by Bret Easton Ellis, the successful writer of American Psycho and other novels. At the beginning, it sounds autobiographical, but then completely descends to fiction.
- Black Comedy: As pitch black as it gets. All of his books, no matter how violent or full of Squick, contain at least three laugh out loud moments and lots of sly dialogue.
- Black and Gray Morality
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Though in at least one book (Less Than Zero), Blond Guys Are Ubiquitous, so...
- Crapsack World: In his works, pretty much everybody is completely shallow and selfish, and they're usually too dense to notice how empty and meaningless their lives are.
- The Eighties: and how (though Glamorama, Lunar Park and Imperial Bedrooms are set later)
- The Film of the Book: Less Than Zero, American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction. The opening of Imperial Bedrooms (the sequel to Less Than Zero) gets very meta with this, and has the characters commenting on how little the film of Less Than Zero had to do with their experiences.
- Gainax Ending: Almost all of his books have this, but most especially in American Psycho and Glamorama.
- Gorn: In all the books to some extent, but reaches an apex in American Psycho.
- Gossipy Hens: Put any two of his characters in a room together and it's a sure bet they'll start talking about a third.
- Homage: Imperial Bedrooms was an extended one to classic hard-boiled detective fiction, in the Raymond Chandler/James M Cain tradition.
- Hookers and Blow: and sometimes just blow. And pot. And heroin. And animal tranquilizers.
- Life Embellished: Lunar Park.
- Literary Allusion Title: Less Than Zero and Imperial Bedrooms are both named for Elvis Costello songs.
- Los Angeles and New York City: primary settings for his novels.
- Post Modernism: His books started to feature more and more postmodern elements from American Psycho onwards, with Lunar Park the most striking example.
- No Ending: The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho.
- No Going Steady, occasionally with a dash of Love Triangle / Love Dodecahedron
- Old Shame: Averted— his first published novel, Less Than Zero, was a success. Ellis later said that it's "pretty good writing for someone who was 19".
- Parental Obliviousness: Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction.
- Our Vampires Are Different: "The Secrets of Summer" in The Informers: vampires here can (and do) eat raw meat or drink animal blood— and when they consume the blood of drug users they get the effects whether they want them or not.
- The Rashomon: Paul and Sean tell conflicting, contradictory accounts of their relationship in The Rules of Attraction.
- Recursive Canon: Lunar Park (Patrick Bateman exists and so does the novel American Psycho).
- Seinfeldian Conversation: All of his books have long drawn out conversations about shallow topics, with the Business Card scene from the book and movie of American Psycho being the most famous.
- Self Plagiarism: A couple of passages from The Rules of Attraction show up almost exactly word-for-word in American Psycho— and Attraction may have taken them from Less Than Zero.
- There Are No Adults: Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction
- Unreliable Narrator: Several, but primarily Patrick Bateman.
- The Verse: Characters from previous novels show up in later works, and Patrick Bateman actually debuted (with a somewhat different personality) in The Rules of Attraction.
- And that's really just the tip of the iceberg. Usually at least two or three other characters from previous novels appear in any given book.
- Write Who You Know: Has said that his abusive father was the basis for Patrick Bateman as well as the father in Glamorama.