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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho (1991)

by Bret Easton Ellis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,773223385 (3.73)306
  1. 123
    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (sacredheartofthescen)
    sacredheartofthescen: Both about bored men in American society that found odd ways to fill their time and become what they want to be.
  2. 30
    The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson (gtross)
    gtross: I would be very much surprised if Bret Easton Ellis hadn't been influenced by Jim Thompson's first person narrative of a psychopathic mind.
  3. 10
    The Maimed by Hermann Ungar (askthedust)
  4. 10
    Killer on the Road by James Ellroy (yokai)
  5. 00
    In the Miso Soup by Ryū Murakami (TheRavenking)
  6. 00
    People Live Still in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess (ShelfMonkey)
  7. 01
    The Seven Days of Peter Crumb: A Novel (P.S.) by Jonny Glynn (gooneruk)
    gooneruk: Peter Crumb is more intense, shorter, and more schizophrenic, but Bateman is a good cross-Atlantic mirror for him.

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» See also 306 mentions

English (203)  French (10)  Italian (2)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
American Psycho is vile. There, I said it. There is a great deal of terrible things that go on and the apathy of all those surrounding Patrick Bateman, the lack of concern about anything but themselves, is worrying in how accurate it is.

That appears to be Ellis' message, the escalating violence can in places be forgotten in a few paragraphs in the face of the numbing commercialism and status-seeking of the characters, led by Bateman himself.

It is no surprise to find a Brett Easton Ellis novel peopled with the apathetic privileged, but in everything else he's written there is something better, beneath all of that, beyond, that the characters are aware of, are seeking out or missing.

Patrick Bateman is beyond all of that. Ellis' favorite fringe elements: the clothes, the music, the television, the drugs, are all pushed from the margins to extremes.

What Ellis is writing about is what happens when all of those fringe elements consume and become to focus of our lives - leaving only shallow husks, or worse: fools and monsters. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
New York of the eighties, money flowing, homeless in the streets. Patrick, a murderer, goes out into the road. Someone asks him to name the saddest song he knows. Without hesitating, Patrick replies: "You can't always get what you want."
Thus, by the way, "rolling stones" summarize his tragedy - the tragedy of a man who can get everything he wants until he has nothing left to desire.

In the world of Patrick, they are all beautiful, all rich and all of them might be murderers. They all sunbathe in the same tanning machines, go to the same gyms and hold the same card in their wallet to get the cocaine in order. They are all abusing the labyrinth of life on the sidewalk - the same path where they go out at night from the theater, waving "Les Miserables." They all wear exclusive designer clothes that make people so similar that no one notices when they disappear under terrible circumstances. The women who occupy New York in his book, are just as crass and fair as the men. They soothe themselves from the sight of the neighbor's severed head. It's a world that makes you want to kill and Patrick, does it.
Thus, between one gourmet dish, Patrick murders old people, dogs, homeless people and especially women. He crosses them to the door, saws them, pours acid into them and injects them into animals. Then he goes out into the street and wonders what is better - mineral water or natural spring water.
Slowly he loses his mind, sees bleeding ATMs and sleeps under the futon.

Patrick is a sad and sympathetic hero. His suffering is real and touching. It is the suffering of those who can buy everything, he is doomed to be the real customer of flamboyant consumer culture, and therefore also its real victim.

I was not so attached to this book. True, it is full of statements that have a lot of sense. On the other hand, to reach them, we have to go through an open field of human slaughter. Psychotic. It is recommended to read to people who can absorb severe depictions of violence. ( )
  mazalbracha | Jan 12, 2019 |
Damn this book is graphic!
It's the 1980s and the rich keep on getting richer and the poor keep on getting poorer. Patrick Bateman is bored of his humdrum life on Wall Street. Nothing seems to excite him more than stopping people and ripping them apart. We follow his quick descent into madness as Ellis gives us in a blow-by-blow fashion.
With the exception of a few scenes, the movie is pretty much true to the book. They cut out a lot of the sex as well as the killing of a child and a dog. They also toned down the gore substantially.
I can see why people hate this book. Patrick Bateman and his "friends" are a pack of egotistical and extremely self-centered pricks. I mean it's supposed to be American Psycho, not American Douchebag right?
However sexist Bateman is not. And I will tell you why... he looks down upon everyone. Women are either trash or hard bodies or they are deemed as unfuckable and are completely in love with him. Men also fit into three categories for Bateman: friends/business associates, not from America, and faggots. He even looks down on animals LOL. Bateman is a case where he in discriminately looks down upon everyone that is not him.
I will warn you eager readers, this book is EXTREMELY graphic not just in gore but also with the sex scenes. As the somewhat rational person that I like to think I am, I have a hard time thinking that another human being could actually put pen to paper the way that this author did with some of these scenes. It kind of makes you sick. like I got a lump in my throat reading it knowing that I'm reading a book and that someone has written this book from their own imagination. That's how sickening it is.
With all of that aside the book is rather a boring read. The Douchebag Circle is constantly talking about the hard bodies they want to fuck or the new things that they bought or who is sleeping with who or the drugs they can score and where. All of it is extremely monotonous and takes up more than half of the book in all. It gets rather annoying.
With everything considered I would have to say this was an okay read. However I wouldn't really recommend this book because of the extremely graphic scenes and apparently obvious tendency to piss people off for one reason or another. ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Dec 10, 2018 |
Of course I was warned in advance about this book. However, after actually reading the nasty, upsetting torture scenes, the cruelties become unbearably real and horrible. Patrick Bateman is a psychopath, a serial killer continuously going further and further in his sexual escapades and torture practices, eventually engaging in raw cannibalism. The detailed and emotionless way all the horror is described is nauseating. I can imagine many readers throwing this book away.

But ... at the same time, it remains a very intriguing book that I could not put down. On the one hand, there is humorous aspect: Bateman is portrayed by Easton Ellis as an incredibly funny exaggeration, all the clichés about the Wall-Street-yuppies of the '80s are magnified to the absurd (the endless lists of the designer clothes and the discussions on how to wear them, the constant wandering between luxurious restaurants– where barely anything of the exquisite dinners is tasted-, the constant hunting on lines of cocaine, fitness addiction, obsession with beggars, and the ubiquitous elitism, sexism and racism).

Exaggeration is probably the predominant style element in this book: in the nasty passages on torture, of course, but also in the general image of women: the women who appear in this book are almost all flatly stupid, they are treated as cattle (or worse) and end up almost all smeared over the walls and floors of Bateman's luxurious apartment.

Another style element is that of contrast: the contrast between the Bateman who tries to fit in the world of his fellow yuppies and the Bateman that revells in orgies of violence; the contrast between the insensitive, inhuman Bateman and the Bateman who with much subtlety and nuance discusses the music of Whitney Houston, Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News. And so on. In a literary point of way American Psycho certainly is not an ordinary crime-booklet. It really is a sublime (although absurdly exaggerated) sketch of the yuppie environment in the 1980s in the US, and an overwhelming pastiche on the serial killers genre.

I get stuck on the question whether there really is a deeper layer in the book. Easton Ellis certainly gives the impression that there is more than meets the eye: he shows upsettingly how communication between people fails (in the sometimes very long dialogues the characters hardly listen to each other; even the countless "confessions" by Bateman to his colleagues and friends are just not heard or taken serious). Especially towards the end, the author outlines Bateman more and more as a tragic figure: our psychopath seems to acknowledge his deeds are evil, he even is trying to find the source of it (his inability to attach to real feelings), but he finds he cannot possibly curb his "inner urges".

Is Easton Ellis trying to tell us something about man in his time? Is it a 1980s version of Camus' The Stranger (who also commits a crime, just like that, from a deep alienation)? Or are all the cruelties just happening in the head of Bateman? I honestly don’t know. There are too many ambiguous signals in this novel, especially by the way Easton Ellis has highlighted the cruel scenes. In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, the crime (also not very neat, by the way) has a functional purpose in the story of personal catharsis. In American Psycho, there is no such function, the violence seems nonsensical.

Maybe that's the power of this book: that this ambiguity is not resolved, and no definitive answer is possible on the question of what this novel actually tries to tell. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
This book was really trippy to read. While I think in some ways it was a valuable read, if only to get into the mind of a psychopath and understand the mindset, but in other ways, it was brutal to read through. I think what made it worse were the endless descriptions of designer brands and their clothes. It was definitely a unique book that I wouldn’t recommend it for those with a quesy stomach.
  justagirlwithabook | Oct 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
You get the feeling that Mr. Ellis began writing his novel with a single huge emotion of outrage, and that he never in his three years of working on it paused to modulate that emotion or to ask if it was helping to construct an imaginary world. How else could he have written scenes so flat and tedious that the reader wants to scream? Surely not with profit or exploitation in mind. If so, commercialism has never before produced anything so boring.
Where Bonfire owed some part of its success to the reassurance it offered the rich—“You may be silly,” Wolfe was saying in effect, “but, brother, the people down at the bottom are unspeakably worse”—Ellis’s novel inverts the equation. I cannot recall a piece of fiction by an American writer that depicts so odious a ruling class—worse, a young ruling class of Wall Street princelings ready, presumably, by the next century to manage the mighty if surrealistic levers of our economy...

If the extracts of American Psycho are horrendous, therefore, when taken out of context, that is Ellis’s fault. They are, for the most part, simply not written well enough. If one is embarked on a novel that hopes to shake American society to the core, one has to have something new to say about the outer limits of the deranged—one cannot simply keep piling on more and more acts of machicolated butchery.
added by SnootyBaronet | editVanity Fair, Norman Mailer

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Ellis, Bret Eastonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lenders, BaltTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
L'auteur de ce journal et le journal lui-même appartiennent évidemment au domaine de la fiction. Et pourtant, si l'on considère les circonstances sous l'action desquelles s'est formée notre société, il apparaît qu'il peut, qu'il doit exister parmi nous des êtres semblables à l'auteur de ce journal. J'ai voulu montrer au public, en en soulignant quelque peu les traits, un des personnages de l'époque qui vient de s'écouler, un des représentants de la génération qui s'éteint actuellement. Dans ce premier fragment, intitulé Le Sous-Sol, le personnage se présente au lecteur, il expose ses idées et semble vouloir expliquer les causes qui l'ont fait naître dans notre société. Dans le second fragment, il relate certains évènements de son existence.

Fedor Dostoïevski
Le Sous-Sol
Une des grandes erreurs que l'on peut commetre est de croire que les bonnes manières ne sont que l'expression d'une pensée heureuse. Les bonnes manières peuvent être l'expression d'un large éventail d'attitudes. Voici le but essentiel de la civilisation : exprimer de façon élégante et non pas agressive. Une de ces errances est le mouvement naturiste, rousseauiste des années soixante où l'on disait : "Pourquoi ne pas dire tout simplement ce que l'on pense ?" La civilisation ne peut exister sans quelques contraintes. Si nous suivions toutes nos impulsions, nous nous entretuerions.

Miss Manners (Judith Martin)
And a thing fell apart
Nobody paid much attention

Talking Heads
for Bruce Taylor
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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 Misérables on its side blocking the 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.
And if another round of Bellinis comes within a twenty-foot radius of this table we are going to set the maitre d' on fire. So you know, warn him. - Timothy Price
"Beat the shit out of him," the girl suggests, pointing at me. "Oh honey," I say, shaking my head, "the things I could do to you with a coat hanger."
"Blitzen was a reindeer"
"The only Jewish one," Peterson reminds us.
...McDermott, in a state of total frustration, asked the girls if they knew the names of any of the nine planets. Libby and Caron guessed the moon. Daisy wasn't sure but she actually guessed...Comet. Daisy thought that Comet was a planet. Dumbfounded, McDermott, Taylor and I all assured her that it was.
"Lobster to start with? And for an entrée?"
"What do you want me to order? The Pringle Potato Chip appetizer?"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679735771, Paperback)

Now a major motion picture from Lion's Gate Films starring Christian Bale (Metroland), Chloe Sevigny (The Last Days of Disco), Jared Leto (My So Called Life), and Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions), and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol).

In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:32 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a black satire of the eighties, a decade of naked greed and unparalleled callousness, a successful Wall Street yuppie cannot get enough of anything, including murder. Now a major motion picture from Lion's Gate Films, released Spring 2000, starring Christian Bale (Metroland), Chloe Sevigny (The Last Days of Disco), Jared Leto (My So Called Life), and Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions), and directed by Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol). In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day, while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.… (more)

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