In this incisive collection of stories, Bret Easton Ellis returns to the moral badlands of 1980s Los Angeles
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.
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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