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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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American Psycho (original 1991; edition 1991)

by Bret Easton Ellis

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9,330187320 (3.75)259
Member:kiriyama
Title:American Psycho
Authors:Bret Easton Ellis
Info:Vintage (1991), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 416 pages
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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)

Recently added byOsanna, lyrrael, private library, lucyknows, marilynmanson, the_mew, jakezav, supercoldd
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders, Juice Leskinen
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    sacredheartofthescen: Both about bored men in American society that found odd ways to fill their time and become what they want to be.
  2. 10
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    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.
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    gooneruk: Peter Crumb is more intense, shorter, and more schizophrenic, but Bateman is a good cross-Atlantic mirror for him.
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English (168)  French (9)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
While I appreciated the skill of the writing, definitely not my favourite book. A bleakly dark satire with explicit torture makes for a deliberately uncomfortable read. But why the bad reviews? Given the content of many thrillers, it can’t be as simple as: ‘Duh! Women getting tortured and killed.’ I supose it’s the first person narrative. Or the lack of any of the usual justifications for the horrific violence. There’s no pathologist ‘speaking’ for the mutilated dead. Patrick Batemen isn’t using his warped nature to right judicial wrongs. But unless we’re holding literary fiction to different standards to popular culture, it’s hard to agree that this book just shouldn’t exist, as I have actually heard argued. ( )
2 vote Bernadette877 | Aug 1, 2015 |
Patrick Bateman is a terrible human being — superficial, elitist, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, and a serial killer. His days and nights are filled with lounging around the office, working out to maintain the perfect image, buying expensive clothing, technology and other objects, eating and drinking at the hippest clubs and restaurants, getting high on cocaine (this is set in the '80s), and periodically torturing and murdering animals, women, and the homeless.

The novel switches from being mind numbingly mundane to being gratuitously graphic in both sex and violence. There are pages and page on what people ate, what people are wearing, what the decor was like, how much Patrick worked out that day, his skin care routine, and so on. All of these are things Patrick is obsessed with and gets anxiety over, so it makes sense that he would describe them in minutia — however, as a reader, I found it very tedious and by the time he was describing someone's outfit in detail for the upteenth time I was starting to get annoyed, because I just didn't give a crap about who designed some guy's tie. Meanwhile, the sex and violence are described with the same level of minute detail to the point where it's almost overwhelming toward the end (though, if the point of horror is to disturb, then it succeeded, because I was disturbed).

Patrick is able to get away with these horrifying acts because everyone in the story is vile. Everyone is the same superficial elitist he is, so self focused that they don't even notice or pay attention to the blood stains on his clothing. Sometimes he even says, flat out in the middle of a conversation, that he likes to torture and kill women and not one person notices or seems to care, either too wrapped up in their own little obsessions or believing it to be a joke. The author's point seems to be that it's a mad, vapid world, one in which a psychopath fits right in.

I know a lot of people who love this book. And I recognize a certain amount of technical skill in the writing and a layer of satire and cultural criticism, however, I didn't actually enjoy the experience of reading this book. I was either half bored or entirely overwhelmed with the level of women focused violence. Let's just say, it's not for me and leave it at that.

(I don't really know how to rate this, so I'm just not.)
  andreablythe | Jul 24, 2015 |
Extremely careful, hilarious and disgusting. ( )
  Braden_Timss | Jul 17, 2015 |
This had the potential to be really good but instead, the author chose to eschew reality and make the characters one dimensional. Not all yuppies are that shallow and pretentious and not every homeless person is weak and cowering. The frivolity and attention to detail the author spends on fashion, cuisine, and other aspects of mundane life was genius but overused.

I think the author missed a really great opportunity to tell something real, but drastically missed the mark. In the end, there were no consequences and no resolutions that redeemed the bleak and boring narrative that was Patrick Bateman. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
First of all, I bet you all saw the movie. I didn't.
The first thing you will notice in this book are the descriptions of everything the characters wear and other things that are about brands and names. Fret not, as this is just a writing style thing to portray how Patrick Bates (the main cahracter) is obsessed with brands and social status. Even though his escapades begin harmless, the main character manages to make everything more extreme. This should be read by adults only. There are very graphic scenes in this book and if you have a vivid imagination it could happen to you as it happened to myself that your body tells you that it's time to lose your breakfast (luckily, I could keep mine down).
If you know anything about the movie, be aware that this book is way more graphic. So if you can't read anything like that then it's better if you don't tempt your luck with this book.

For me, this was hard to read at first because of all the brand description (and needless to say, English is not my native language) but with time I skimmed the descritions only because they are not really that relevant. Also, the edition I own has tiny text that is printed to the edges of each page. Then again, this seems to be a problem with almost all English language publishers (from all the books I own, most of them are in English and most of them have terrible formatting.) ( )
  Sparrowlicious | Apr 13, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
There are literally pages and pages of this, and pages and pages of the sort of half-witty, half-bright dialogue and behaviour that goes with it: one repeatedly has the sense that inside this 399-page novel about a serial killer, a 120-page novella about spoilt rich kids in New York is wildly signalling to be let out. […] The descriptions of the killings are as inert, and therefore as gratuitous, as one fears they will be.
added by Widsith | editLondon Review of Books, John Lancaster (pay site) (Jul 11, 1991)
 
This man Bret Easton Ellis is a very, very good writer. He gets us to a T. And we can't stand it. It's our problem, not his. American Psycho is a beautifully controlled, careful, important novel which revolves about its own nasty bits. Brilliant.
added by Widsith | editThe Guardian, Fay Weldon (Apr 25, 1991)
 
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.
 
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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
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for Bruce Taylor
First words
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.
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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. 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)

(summary from another edition)

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