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Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Less Than Zero (original 1985; edition 1998)

by Bret Easton Ellis

Series: Clay (1)

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Title:Less Than Zero
Authors:Bret Easton Ellis
Info:Vintage (1998), Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (1985)


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English (50)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
This book is my favourite of Ellis' that I've read so far. (I've only read two, but this was also my first book by him, and it really got me into Ellis.)

It has some really memorable lines, and his use of repetition is a little bit Palahniuk-esque. I really liked Clay's characterisation and his narrative voice. I liked how open, raw and vulnerable the narrator was, and how the writing was almost unfiltered.

This book is absolutely riddled with teenaged angst, and while the rich, wealthy lives of these teenagers can be a little bit tiresome, I found this a really readable novel.

I am interested to read the next novel (Imperial Bedrooms, I believe?) and see how the characters have changed or stayed the same.

A solid 4 stars. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Too much sex, drugs and nihilism for these young people. ( )
  kale.dyer | May 8, 2016 |
Why bother? ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Why bother? ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
Written when he was just 21, Easton Ellis, made quite an impression on the literary scene with this tale of the morally impoverished youth of wealthy Los Angeles. In it, he warms himself up for his later portrayals of 1980s USAnia in Glamorama and, most spectacularly, American Psycho.

Easton Ellis is an important novelist because he does what the archetypical novelist should: use the art form to leave humanity with an impression of itself that later generations could never do.

In the very prose he adopts, a first person monologue that is pithy and punchy, Easton Ellis starts out with bare bones descriptions of what some of that era and generation would call life. Read now, it’s so easily seen as far from what life can offer.

We have high school and college youth living simply for their own pleasure and yet suffering all the while. There are very few judgements made by anyone in the novel, even when the narrator himself cannot face what his peers are obviously captivated by. Some of the episodes are fairly disturbing by Less Than Zero standards and, if they shock you enough to want to give up reading, do not, whatever you do, attempt American Psycho or you will seriously damage your soul.

So, what’s the point in portraying such pointlessness? Well, that is the point and it comes across exceptionally well. That a 21-year-old product of the very culture his novel encapsulates should have such an objective view strikes me as remarkable. This is a major debut novel and, as the ’80s thankfully disappear into distant memory, I’m glad the world will be able to look back through Easton Ellis’ work and see how awful it really was to live through. ( )
1 vote arukiyomi | Mar 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
The narrator, Clay, and his friends - who have names like Rip, Blair, Kim, Cliff, Trent and Alana - all drive BMW's and Porsches, hang out at the Polo Lounge and Spago, and spend their trust funds on designer clothing, porno films and, of course, liquor and drugs. None of them, so far as the reader can tell, has any ambitions, aspirations, or interest in the world at large. And their philosophy, if they have any at all, represents a particularly nasty combination of EST and Machiavelli: ''If you want something, you have the right to take it. If you want to do something, you have the right to do it.''

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bret Easton Ellisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Antolín Rato, MarianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the game that moves as you play... - X
There's a feeling I get when I look West...Led Zeppelin.
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For Joe McGinniss
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People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles.
Disappear here!
The psychiatrist I see during the four weeks I'm back is young and has a beard and drives a 450 SL and has a house in Malibu (...) Sometimes I'll yell at him and he'll yell back. I tell him that I have this bizarre sexual fantasies and his interest will increase noticeably. I'll start to laugh for no reason and then feel sick.
Next day I stop by Julian's house in Bel Air with the money in a green envelope. He's lying on his bed in a wet bathing suit watching MTV. It's dark in the room, the only light coming from the black and white images on the television.
"You must do something"
"Oh, I don't know."
"What do you do?" she asks.
"Things, I guess". I sit on the matress.
"Like what?"
"I don't know. Things." My voice breaks and for a moment I think about the coyote and I think that I'm going to cry, but it passes and I just want to get my vest and get out of here.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679781498, Paperback)

Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980's, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money a place devoid of feeling or hope.

Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin. Clay's holiday turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

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Returning to Los Angeles from his Eastern college for a Christmas vacation in the early 1980s, Clay "reenters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine ... A raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation."--Back cover.… (more)

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