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Less Than Zero


Keenomanjaro
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Ellis' first novel follows a group of rich Californian teenagers, neglected by their parents (Hollywood stars and producers, rich lawyers) and left to their own devices over the Christmas period. Whilst there is no specific plot, the story focuses on the exploits of the narrator (Clay) who moves from one party to another trying to search for the 'worst possible thing'.

 

Clay's nihilism has deadened him (and his friends) to all but the most shocking things he encounters and Ellis conveys the sense that in spite of all their money, these kids have no idea what they want from life and have no real desire or means of expressing themselves.

 

Ellis develops some of these themes further in 'Rules of Attraction' and some of the characters in this book seem like they could have been younger versions of Patrick Bateman from 'American Psycho'. This is a pretty good introduction to Ellis' work and gives you an idea of his distintive writing style.

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It's more years than I care to think about since I read this, and I had wondered if it had aged well. It would be easy to dismiss this as a novel whose attitudes were very much rooted in the 1980s.

 

As you say, keenomanjaro, it would be a good place to start with Easton Ellis before working up the nerve for "American Psycho".

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I read 'American Psycho' in the late 90's and thought it hadn't aged too well even back then. This one, however, didn't seem to suffer in the same way (with the exception of a few cultural references).

 

I guess today's teenagers are as apathetic as any other generation, although their apathy doesn't perhaps manifest itself in the excessive behaviour described in this book.

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