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