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Less Than Zero [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Bret Easton Ellis
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Less Than Zero Less Than Zero 3.6 out of 5 stars (79)
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Book Description

3 Nov 2006
A raw portrait of a lost, rich generation who experience sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age


Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1 edition (3 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330447971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330447973
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'It is all too relevant to teenagers today'
--Alastair Hutchinson in The Times

Book Description

Clay comes home to L.A. for Christmas vacation and re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches, 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. Morally barren, ethically bereft and tinged with implicit violence, Less Than Zero is a shocking coming-of-age novel about the casual nihilism that comes with youth and money. ‘An extraordinarily accomplished first novel’ New Yorker ‘One of the most disturbing novels I’ve read in a long time. It possesses an unnerving air of documentary reality’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times ‘The Catcher in the Rye for the MTV generation’ USA Today ‘Remarkable. A killer – sexy, sassy, sad’ Village Voice

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Generation 8 Sep 2005
By rp
Format:Paperback
Where did Bret Easton-Ellis come from? I don't mean geographically. I mean how did someone in their early twenties write such a complete book? Less Than Zero is so accomplished it's incredible. It tells the story of the teenagers of the rich and famous, and their decent into decadence simply in search of something to do. These characters simply have nothing to risk. They are dead to the world and completely souless.
I think a lot of other authors wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to satirise the characters. Easton-Ellis looks beyond the shallowness of his characters and the result is a tragedy worthy of Evelyn Waugh, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately, Less Than Zero is not as entertaining as Vile Bodies or The Great Gatsby. It's on a par with The Sun Also Rises though.
I think as the years go by, this book will be seen as more and more tragic, and an extremely good record of 1980s America at it's most empty and decadent. When it was first released some reviewers misread it as some kind of nihilistic call-to-arms for young party people. There's even an excerpt on the back of the book from one reviewer who compares the characters to The Beat Generation and generally approves of their wild party antics. I think now that the dust has settled it's easier to understand the meaning of this book. There's no soul in this party.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first and the best. 6 April 2009
By Lozza
Format:Paperback
I can never understand people who claim 'American Psycho' is BEE's best work. I'm guessing they are attracted to the notoriety of the book. Although it is, of course, a great piece of writing; his first novel 'Less than Zero' written while he was still at University is stunning. Its a book i can read again and again as the stark style and matter of fact narration draws you in.
Worryingly, I dont think that its just as simple as the novel being a mirror that reflects the attitudes of the rich and bored in 80s LA. It also reflects society as a whole since that decade. The degree of emotional detachment that rings through the book from each character is the most haunting and sad thing because its not just the spoilt kids of Hollywood and Vine that want to 'see the worst' anymore: its all of us. Case in point..... the amount of people who read (and love) 'American Psycho.'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desolate but effective 14 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
An effective portrayal of a defunct and desolate generation, whose world consists of sleazy sex and drugs, everything's for sale. Clay gives such a detached narrative, almost diary like, trapped on a personal conveyor belt to emptiness. His coldness, and emotional numbness to this world is so effective that you occasionally feel lost also. A great novel, almost like a diary, not really consisting of any major storylines, however still an intensely effective depiction of how those who have everything are often the most unfulfilled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the bleakness of existence in 208 pages 27 Dec 1999
Format:Paperback
this is THE BOOK... if you were ever looking for a book to communicate the emptiness of life, the disappearance of society and the commodification of society this is that book... i guarantee that if you take this book seriously it will change your life... you will be brought face to face with the impossibility of communication and connection with others... the vacuity of experience and lived life... we are all throwing chicken in the bucket for the man
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repellent characters that do nothing 9 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback
I'm sure some will say that this book is an allegory for a moral decline in American youth etc. When I read a book I want to find a story, good writing, characters etc. This was just a series of pointless activities by repellent self absorbed non-characters - went to party, took drugs, had pointless conversation, may or may not have sex, wake up, go to party, take drugs, have pointless conversations and so on in an endless pattern. The last couple of chapters are particularly unpleasant, especially the lead character's ambivalence and inaction at events taking place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No place called home... 17 July 2010
Format:Paperback
My favourite Ellis book, but then again I'm biased as I like all of them. It also heavily reminds me of my own first break from university returning to a home town that now seemed out of place. The shortest book of his career to date it can be easily read in one day in go, rather like the visiting Clay you come back, go in, leave before your times out and reach for a sign that reads 'No Exit'. I find its best to read Ellis's books in order as he has created his own little universe of characters appearing in all his books from minor becoming main players and vica-versa. So this book should always be the starting point for any new Brett Easton Ellis reader. The main is simply a generation x genius.
PS: Shame about the '80s film of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By AndyK
Format:Paperback
A lot of this book involve Clay going to parties and generally being completely apathetic about everything. The book is quietly tragic however and contains some genuinely affecting scenes. It's only short. Give it a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutal 5 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
This book is a brutal indictment of how life can fester to the point of nothingness... less than zero. Trapped in a world of drugs and sex, clay and his friends know only how to party and gossip... There lives are empty and have no content, lost in an endless cycle of depression, highs and lows. A shocking yet somewhat true portrayal of the postmodern city where life is all about instant gratification...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly disconcerting but lacks a gripping quality
'Less Than Zero' offers a chilling portrayal of bored and immoral youth - it is disturbing not just in its graphic details but in the extreme apathy of its characters, who so... Read more
Published 4 months ago by LilacLemon
5.0 out of 5 stars Easton Ellis's First Novel
Having read a few other of Brett Easton Ellis's novels, I decided to read this one too and I was not let down. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jenny
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
Very different to what I expected and certainly not my usual style. I did warm to it as the 'story' progressed...
Published 5 months ago by DHen
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift
Bought as a gift for my boyfriend who loved the other books by this author. He enjoyed it although was a bit odd.
Published 6 months ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars For a literary fan
What do you get a literary fan - why a book of course. And if it is a reasonable price - what more could you ask for.
Published 6 months ago by Caz
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, but don't expect a thriller
A very bleak, often harrowing tale of indifference. Maybe a touch too meandering at times, however I did always want to finish the book. Money isn't everything.
Published 8 months ago by Mr. R. M. Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars solid work
I read this as many will have done, after American psycho, and while it did not expect it to match up, it unfortunately ticked the same gory boxes as his best selling work. Read more
Published 9 months ago by thelibrarian
3.0 out of 5 stars He's done better works
I am a BEE fan but this just seemed to lack the intensity of his other works and never really goes anywhere. Worth a read for a few good lines.
Published 10 months ago by Stuart Thomson
3.0 out of 5 stars "Everything is the same, but different"
"I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Charles Trotman
5.0 out of 5 stars Disappear here
This is a really strange one - the characters in this excellent novel are so far removed from my own (very tame) coming of age experiences yet Mr Easton-Ellis makes the whole thing... Read more
Published 13 months ago by K. K. Jakubczyk
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