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American Psycho [Paperback]

Bret Easton Ellis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 April 2011

Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to a head-on collision with America’s greatest dream – and its worst nightmare – American Psycho is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to confront.

American Psycho is a beautifully controlled, careful, important novel . . . The novelist’s function is to keep a running tag on the progress of the culture; and he’s done it brilliantly . . . A seminal book’ Fay Weldon, Washington Post

‘The first novel to come along in years that takes on deep and Dostoyevskian themes . . . Ellis is showing older authors where the hands have come to on the clock’ Norman Mailer, Vanity Fair

‘Serious, clever and shatteringly effective . . . For its savagely coherent picture of a society lethally addicted to blandness, it should be judged by the highest standards’ Sunday Times

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330536303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330536301
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bret Easton Ellis is also the author of Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers, Glamorama, Lunar Park and Imperial Bedrooms, and his work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Brett Easton Ellis established a reputation as the enfant terrible of American fiction in the 1980s with his controversial novel Less than Zero, but with the publication of American Psycho he became established as one of the most notorious and reviled novelists currently writing. American Psycho deserves its controversy. The novel opens with a sign scrawled above a New York subway station: "Abandon hope all ye who enter". So begins a hellish descent into the world of Patrick Bateman, the novel's protagonist. Bateman is a handsome 26-year-old Wall Street yuppie, who spends his days listening to Whitney Houston and working out which exclusive restaurant to eat in and what clothes to wear in a dizzying parody of 1980s consumerism run mad.

However, Bateman also has a darker side; he is a psychopathic serial killer, with a penchant for torturing and sexually abusing young women before killing them in the most gruesome and explicit fashion. The novel contains little actual plot, and consists of extended descriptions of exclusive restaurants, designer clothes, TV shows and the minutiae of Bateman's vacuous world, relieved only by clinically described scenes of torture and mutilation which are not for the faint-hearted. Bateman makes little attempt to justify his actions, merely claiming that "this is the way the world--my world--moves". As a satire on the bankrupt, money-driven world of the 1980s, American Psycho is a successful, if rather heavy-handed piece of fiction, whose controversy seems only set to increase. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


A seminal book. --Fay Weldon

Serious, clever and shatteringly effective. --The Sunday Times --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
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 Miserables on its side blocking his 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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Easton-Ellis' first person description of the development of a psychopath is nothing short of mind blowing and this fact alone makes American Psycho a great novel. Following the anti-hero Patrick Bateman through about a year of his life and aided by flashbacks to past events the reader is drawn ever more into the mindset of a killer and his normalisation and disassociation from the acts that he is committing. At the beginning of the book (where violence is only hinted at briefly), it is very easy to laugh at Bateman, his shallow life, appalling friends and fiancé and his assumption that happiness and wealth are one and the same thing. As the story develops one can almost feel pity for someone who is so clearly trapped in a life not of his choosing but which he is unwilling to leave for all the wrong reasons.

Bateman's increasingly violent behaviour and periods of psychosis characterise the middle of the book, but the author still finds room to add his own brand of dark humour to the situations he puts his star into. In the final section of the book we see Bateman develop into a full blown psychopathic monster, completely out of control and unable to repress the primal urges that are overcoming him.

That Easton-Ellis manages to achieve this whilst taking a sideways sneer at eighties yuppie culture AND providing an allegorical interpretation of what it means to be alive in modern day America is what makes this novel remarkable and ultimately an essential read.

My only complaint is that the novel is too long. Did the Huey Lewis and The News chapter really add anything to the plot, particularly after lengthy discussions on Genesis and Whitney Houston?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of two frighteningly different halves 12 July 2001
By A Customer
On the one hand this book is, and let me make this clear straight away, one of the most repulsive books I have ever read. The further you get throught the book, the more horrific the murders become. It would be very easy to dismiss this as an empty, attention-grabbing ploy.
But that would be unfair: this book works brilliantly as a satire on the 1980s attitudes. Pages are filled with excrutiating detail of what Bateman is wearing; his daily routine is scrutinised in minute detail; his friends are empty-headed, vacuous fools, who listen to nothing. Bateman himself is simply taking the consumerist dream to its extremes: the idea that he can take life. Filled with black humour, and some truly surreal situations (Bateman asks for a "decapitated" coffee; no-one appears to notice), this is fantastic. The sex and violence are unpleasant, but in the context of the novel they make sense.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Perhaps the most notorious book of the early 1990s, American Psycho continues Bret Easton Ellis' savage dissection of eighties American society, begun in his earlier novels, 'Less than Zero' and 'The Rules of Attraction'. Although infamous, on account of the much publicised violence and torture, American Psycho does not really deserve its 'sick' reputation. The violence is there, and in places it is very extreme, but really it is no more than a distraction to the real story of what society, or rather wealthy society, has become. The characters within the book are generally shallow, vain, arrogant, thoughtless, bored and generally unlovable; ordinarily reasons enough to distance the reader from any work of fiction, but the author has a knack for turning the most mundane details into a grotesquely fascinating series of snapshots. Chapters containing the reviled scenes of violence are book ended with chapters describing Patrick Bateman's choice of toiletries and his opinions on Huey Lewis and the News. Bret Easton Ellis can be accused of using too much dialogue, of revelling in brand names, of writing essentially plotless books, but the simple fact is, he does it very, very well. It is true to say that American Psycho captures the spirit of the greed obsessed eighties. Depending on how much money you had at the time, this book will either remind you of all the things you loved or despised about that decade. And the moral of the story? Patrick Bateman never did get caught. Just like real life really.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Satire 7 Dec 2002
This book, I loved. Its pure satire straight from the intellectually messed up mind of Bateman, a pathological time bomb exploding in the book to help Ellis show the world the downside of yuppie America. The events range from comparing business cards to violence at the most extreme level.
Ellis uses Bateman very well in the book. His self analytical diagonstic style at times shock the reader. Late in the book, the story moves from 1st person to 3rd person for a couple of pages, exhibiting an unexpeted style of sleek beutiful prose found no where else in the psychoanalytical frame of Bateman.
The characters all show flaws of upper class yuppie society. Evelyne obsessed with marriage and wealth, Courtney constantly on anti-depressents, making her a character the complete opposite of Bateman.
The humour is not in the violence, but in the explicit manner in which Bateman tells people numerously he is psychotic and wants to kill them and they are obvlivious to it.
To experience a completley different novel, read this. An explosive satire on American capitalist corruption featuring a genuine psychotic murderer will have your heart racing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great and fast delivery
Published 22 hours ago by DaBeezNeez
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to knock you sideways - enjoy!
Well, what can I say? Initially I didn't buy in to the writing style, the content or the "feel" of the book, finding the first half quite dull. Read more
Published 8 days ago by KateGrove
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and very smart
This is a masterpiece by Bret Easton Ellis. I watched the film before reading the book and both include the amazing narration by Pat Bateman. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mitchell Agg
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstandingly well written - if you dare to read it !
One of the most edgey extreme heady novels I've read. Get into the head of a pyscho, and wade through his inner world. Right up there with my favourites. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Cheeky Chops
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine if your a fashion fan.
Far too many fashion statements in it, it spoilt the story as trying to concentrate on the plot was marred by clothing descriptions!!!
Published 18 days ago by grinni
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good
Obviously goes into a lot more detail than the movie and sometimes it was a bit too much for me but all in all It was a really good book.
Published 1 month ago by Andrew Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and deeply disturbing
I had problems reading this on the train, especially when violent scenes of cannibalism and rape seemed to appear and reappear on paper, but Easton's style of writing kept me... Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. A. Mayers
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Absolutely fantastic read, I don't normally read books but I loved this! Definitely recommend this book! Truely astonishing and has an amazing twist at the end!
Published 1 month ago by Aidan Banerjee
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great book. Arrived in good time and good condition.
Very dark and interesting story. Sometimes humorous. Requires patience at times, but is well worth it.
Published 2 months ago by Charlie
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily gory
I am not one to shy away from gory and disturbing books, when they make a point. This isn't just a reaction against hard reading, although there is not a glimmer of anything... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bex
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