I thought I had a long enough break from "American Psycho" that I was prepared to pick up another Bret Easton Ellis book. I was wrong. While the narrative of "Less Than Zero" is not as horrific as "American Psycho," it is disturbing none the less...
"Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980's, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation. They have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, and lived in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money."
"Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and reenters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew his 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."
"Less Than Zero" is the perfect title for this novel. There is nothing to like about any character in this book. The only character I felt the slightest bit sorry for was the protagonist, Clay, but even as his ordeal in L.A. becomes much more severe, I still loathe him. A generation who had everything handed them too soon, Generation X. As one exchange in the novel puts it so well:
"...what don't you have?"
"I don't have anything to lose."
The back cover of the book quotes USA Today:
"Catcher in the Rye for the MTV generation."
Fuck J.D. Salinger and fuck Bret Easton Ellis. Disgusting and powerful. Recommended.