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The Informers [Paperback]

Bret Easton Ellis
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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The Informers The Informers 3.3 out of 5 stars (17)
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Book Description

8 Sep 1995
Set in Los Angeles, in the recent past. The birthplace and graveyard of American myths and dreams, the city harbours a group of people trapped between the beauty of their surroundings and their own moral impoverishment. This novel is a chronicle of their voices.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (8 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330339184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330339186
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 730,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bret Easton Ellis is the author of Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers, Glamorama, and Lunar Park. His new novel, Imperial Bedrooms, will be published in 2010. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

Product Description


"Coolly ferocious. . . . Truly unsettling."
--"The New York Times Book Review"
"Skillfully accomplishes its goal of depicting a modern moral wasteland. . . . Arguably Ellis's best."
--"The Boston Globe"
"Sparkles with a disturbing mix of humor and ultraviolence."
--"Detroit Free Press"
"Ellis . . . has a keen eye for dialogue, a sharp eye for the moral bankruptcy of modern life, and a vivid imagination."" "
--"San Franciscop Chronicle"
"Bret Easton Ellis. . . is an extremely traditional and very serious American novelist. He is the model of literary filial piety, counting among his parents Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West, and Joan Didion."
--The Washington Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Dirk sees his best friend killed in a desert car wreck, then rifles through his pockets for a last joint before the ambulance comes. Cheryl, a wannabe newscaster, chides her future stepdaughter, 'You're tan but you don't look happy'. Jamie is a clubland carnivore with a taste for human blood. The characters go to the same schools and eat at the same restaurants. Their voices enfold us as seamlessly as those of DJs heard over a car radio. They have sex with the same boys and girls and buy from the same dealers. In short, they are connected in the only way people can be in L.A. - suffering from nothing less than the death of the soul. ‘A writer at the peak of his powers . . . The book takes us from the first to the seventh circles of hell, from Salinger to De Sade’ Will Self ‘The Informers is spare, austere, elegantly designed, telling in detail, coolly ferocious, sardonic in its humour; every vestige of authorial sentiment is expunged’ New York Times ‘A spare and hypnotic prose style which beats out these lives of quiet desperation with a slow pulse as gentle as it is compelling . . . Ellis has been compared to Fitzgerald and here we see why’ Modern Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work - but have a look, anyway. 10 May 2002
Apparently this was writen before American Psycho but was held back because it wasn't thought of too highly by the publishers. After the overwhelming success of 'AP' this was given the go ahead some years later, the publishers certain that those who lapped-up his previous work would buy this without a second thought.
It makes me wonder: if this was his debut, what would we be saying about this author?
The Informers is a collection of short stories loosely held together by one or two characters who flit in and out of a few, and includes narratives from fading rock-stars, vampires, drug abusers, and characters in the mould of 'Clay' from Less Than Zero - angst-ridden, self destructing teens.
It is sometimes hard to follow and difficult to make the connections between the many characters, but often Ellis sucks you in and spits you out with a ball of low-life going-ons and and the care-free abuse of under-age girls - by Vampires, no less. Yes, like his other work, sometimes it is a little hard to stomach.
All in all I'd rank this in last place of all his 5 works, but the rest are of such high quality that this is no fair reflection on this dark, humerous and sometimes-grotesque read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A SUPERBLY PENNED VIEW OF THE DARK SIDE 2 May 2005
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
When a cast of vacuous, narcissistic, bronzed Californians indulges in whatever brings them pleasure, Bret Easton Ellis is at his sardonic, cynical best. Culled from sketches begun in 1983 and eventually filling several notebooks, "The Informers" is more a tale of a group's flawed response to its culture than it is a picture of individuals.
Impossibly empty, the characters are predominantly male students who spend little time at their studies. Flouting their parents' checkbooks, they drive expensive cars, wear extravagantly priced clothes, dine at the trendiest spots, and indulge in most forms of chemical escapism.
Punctuated with dark metaphors, the author's text is hauntingly spare, offering no explanation for the characters' lives but simply presenting them. This leaves the readers to judge, gnash their teeth or gape in shocked surprise. There is room for shock. As in Ellis' "American Psycho," some very unpleasant descriptions of mayhem and murder are included.
In an interview Mr. Ellis commented, "What I've always been interested in as a writer is this idea of a group of people who seem to have everything going for them on the outside. Because of that, they have a lot of freedom. The theme of my fiction is the abuse of that freedom."
With his superior intellect and total mastery of his craft, Mr. Ellis presents his theme well.
- Gail Cooke
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Novel Stories 24 Feb 2001
By A Customer
An interesting point that has arisen in previous reviews is that some people treat "The Informers" as a novel and others as a series of stories. I know how they both feel.
I first read it in paperback, where there is no indication whatever that this is not a novel. I tried to keep track of the different narrators and different characters until my brain hurt (this wasn't helped by the fact that all the male characters are 20 years old, blond with green eyes and adonis-like bodies - just how Ellis likes 'em, I guess - and all the women are middle-aged, wasted and strung out on tranquillisers.)
I loved it anyway for what the blurb calls its "impressionistic blur" of narrative. That's another way of saying it makes your brain hurt if you try to keep track of them individually.
Then I picked up a hardback copy in a second-hand bookshop and it made it quite clear that this was a collection of stories. I breathed a sigh of relief, but as someone who is never happier than when he feels there's something in a book he's not quite getting, "The Informers" felt slightly diminished as a result.
Read it anyway. It's cool, mature, bleak, hilarious Ellis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short stories NOT a full blown novel... 20 Dec 2012
By finalguy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Less a novel and more a collection of extremely loosely connected short stories set in L.A. The movie based from the book is pretty terrible, but from watching that it makes certain aspects of the connectivity between characters more easy to see and understand, especially in comparison to my first attempt reading it years ago. Glad I gave it the re-read, I've always enjoyed Ellis yet this was the only one of his i felt I didn't really 'get'. Happy to see my understanding has changed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Informers 14 Nov 2012
By Tom
I came to Bret Easton Ellis by, probably, a fairly familiar route: saw American Psycho; read American Psycho; bought something else hoping for it to be another American Psycho (The Rules of Attraction and then The Informers).

I started reading The Informers, expecting the disjointed short stories to coalesce and the characters to intertwine: I should have known better. This book is not a novel and, whilst there are overlapping characters, it is a ridiculously frustrating read for a number of reasons: namely, that the connections are virtually impossible to make, there are no conclusions, and everything seems a little... superficial (although the relevance of this is not lost on me). Perhaps I just prefer my books to be a little more `spelled out' and contain a tangible narrative.

I find that The Informers walks a very fine line between snapshot social satire (of a society that I am not overly familiar with) and pretention for pretentions sake. I lost interest as there was nothing to pull me through the book. Some of the stories are entertaining and insightful, but are too sporadic and inconsistent to save the concept, and whether read as individual stories or cover-to-cover it's just a wholly unfulfilling read and a very acquired taste.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor collection of short stories
This is a fairly poor collection of short stories about messed up people i LA in the beginning of the 80s. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jan Patrik SahlstrÝm
3.0 out of 5 stars you won't see it coming
This is clever. And nasty. And empty. And vacuous. Basically it's Ellis.

A series of vignettes take us through the standard Ellis tropes. Read more
Published 12 months ago by The Amazon J
3.0 out of 5 stars A few diamonds in there...
I must admit, i am a bit of a Bret Easton Ellis fan so was very excited to be starting this after so long! Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2010 by Jnet
1.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea...
this is pants...poorly written, lacking in wit, monotonous, and predictable after the first few pages.
Published on 25 Jun 2010 by Wimmers
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written if a bit bleak
If you like Bret Easton Ellis you'll probably like this. These are short stories though it does read a bit like a novel at first - clever the way the stories are linked so subtly... Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2010 by noc
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for those who can't sit down and read.
At times in our lives we need to sit down and read a short chunk of prose that makes us feel as though we as individuals are not as bad as we could be, yet remind us that as a race... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2009 by J. Staniford
5.0 out of 5 stars Sex and death of the soul in L.A.
I have to admit, when I first read this collection of short stories, having read a fair amount of Ellis other work, I thought 'Oh, here we go again, same old boring self obsessed... Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2008 by Dead Celeb
4.0 out of 5 stars unconnected excellence
Ellis wanders all over the place with short novel and I was pleased I followed him. Like most of his other books this will make you laugh, cry, smile and cough! Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2000 by
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