Top critical review
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on 23 April 2013
Pretty much all of Ellis' work should come with a health warning that it is not meant to be read, except by final year students working on the effects of post-modernism on literature. Basically this is the story of a male model, who goes to the right restaurants, meets the right people, and takes the right drugs. One major slip-up however sees him cruise-linering off to Europe, into the hands of a model / terrorist organisation, who are behind a massive bombing campaign. Can you say Der-e-leeect?
Actually when I first read this, I presumed it was Ellis writing something truly unfilmable, just because all of his other books had ended up on screen; the irony that Zoolander basically took this premise and turned it into something entertaining is... quite wonderful.
Back to the novel, you can never tell what is true, what is really going on, and what is real. There is no resolution (there never is with Ellis). His characters are cyphers, indicators of general malaise, empty shells, not people in themselves, or people who participate in cause and effect plots. They are designed to inform us that our souls are dead, and that there aren't enough drugs to fill the gap. They are not designed to entertain us, and that is the problem - Ellis' books aren't entertaining, are a slog to read, and don't provide any payback for reading them (unless you consider the bitter after taste to be worth the while). Therefore I simply can't recommend reading them to anyone, unless you are someone who is quite happy to be bored by the books you read, and read for mood, not plot. Because there is no plot because either nothing happened or hundreds of people were blown limb from bloody limb by model agency bombing attacks; and no matter how many times you read this book, you will never know which of these scenarios occurred.