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lorenzoberardi

The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis Re-read (and finished at this time, oh jeez) one year after the very first attempt of mine.
Mmmh.
Not that bad. Not that good.
"Less Than Zero" is smart but it's an artificial smartness somehow.

On my bookshelf the novel followed the reading of "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay Mc Inerney that was once seen as the East Coast counterpart of this book.

I might disagree with that vision and say there is not so much in common between the two novels.
Apart from snorting blizzards of cocaine in public toilets, messy bedrooms and as a substitute for any given proper meal, I mean.

In fact, where Jay Mc Inerney is wordy and humour-flavoured, Bret Easton Ellis is minimalist and deeply fatalist.

Furthermore, Jay sounds somewhat British to me (is the infamous Ivy League influence?), while Bret is totally - even too much - American-like with all the negative stereotypes included.
So, here it comes my personal suggestion:
don't borrow "Less Than Zero" to a staunch anti-American as you could give him plenty of topics for the following six months.


"Bright Lights Big City" is like Holden Caulfield dating Bartleby The Scrivener and Ivana Trump in an early Sex & The City pilot where Nick Hornby wrote the script and Rudy Giuliani forgot the neon tubes on.

"Less Than Zero" is like getting stoned wearing a Devo t-shirt in a Mtv serie releasing party held in a Valley mall and hosted by the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 while watching Reservoir Dogs with the audio off.

But this was exactly the effect Bret Easton Ellis wanted to have, I guess, so it's not that disturbing as it should sound.
Plus Bret was able to write this stuff years before Brenda & Kelly were killing their uptown spleen and Quentin Tarantino was going to teach us how to resuscitate Uma Thurman after an overdose.
And this has to be praised him, if not shortly applauded.