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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 February 2011
'Lunar Park' is a strange book - perhaps the oddest that Bret Easton Ellis has published. In effect, it re-imagines the novel of contemporary nihilism that Ellis pioneered in 'Less Than Zero' and 'American Psycho' as a tale of paranoiac domestic horror in the manner of 'Poltergeist' - a family threatened in its own home by unnatural forces.

As one might imagine, Ellis is wholly aware of the precedents, and the novel is seamed with references to contemporary horror cinema that acknowledge the second-handedness of his theme, while undercutting criticism by introducing an element of knowing postmodernist play. This is greatly reinforced by Ellis's adoption of the classic doppelgänger motif; his protagonist is a writer haunted by his own fictional creations. But Ellis doesn't stop here: instead he redoubles the atmosphere of paranoid suspicion by making this character himself a doppelgänger, a 'Bret Easton Ellis' who shares some details of the author's biography but whose fictional life then departs in significant ways from the 'real-life' template - for whose ultimate veracity we have only Ellis to trust.

The result is a book that isn't wholly successful as literature but that holds an odd fascination. In this it resembles nothing so much as the tales of H.P. Lovecraft, which have something of the same dynamic of remorselessly accumulating dread, and the same implication of an existential horror that lies unvoiced beneath the surface effects.

Ellis has made something of a motif of the wholly unreliable narrator, and here he goes further than before, offering the reader a drug-addicted and alcoholic celebrity writer as the only real source of information within the narrative. The resulting hall-of-mirrors leads only inwards, until the reader is struggling with multiple levels of 'reality' in which real people, fictional characters and the spirits of the dead all seem to have similar ontological status. This makes 'Lunar Park' at times more difficult to follow than the earlier books, whose narratives for the most part lack these complications.

Readers who know and like Ellis will persist with this, although it does lend some credence to the notion that the writer is steadily cannibalising his own talent. For readers new to Ellis, I would strongly suggest starting with 'Less Than Zero' and 'American Psycho'. Not only does 'Lunar Park' refer frequently to these earlier books, but by reading them in sequence one may glimpse a seriousness in the later novel that might escape a completely uninformed reading.
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on 6 April 2009
I may be bias as Ellis is my all time favourite writer but i could not put this book down.
Like his previous novels, Lunar Park is intelligent, slick and cinematic and as usual the subject matter is painfully personal to the writer. I agree with other reviewers that at times it did feel like i was reading a Stephen King story but the overall tone is classic Ellis.
The only minus point i can think of is that i can't imagine it being as gripping and involving for a person who has never read any of his previous novels. If you're a fan, however, then it has to be a must read.
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on 10 September 2006
Lunar Park is a supposed autobiographic book written by the author of classic and majorly controversial books such as American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction and Less Than Zero. It is a tale of the glamorous, greedy and hedonistic lifestyle of a highly successful and famous author and the troubles he faces leaving that lifestyle for mundane suburbia. Throughout the book drugs, cocaine especially, is a major part of Easton Ellis' life, one which brings the greatest joys and relief's but also creates the greatest struggles and reveals the darkest sides of the author.

After leaving his troubled and abusive father for a college place at a specialist writing college, Easton Ellis begins to pursue his career as a successful author. At the age of twenty he finds fame and fortune with the success of his debut book, Less Than Zero. This is when Easton Ellis addictive lifestyle begins to take full swing, describing the wealth, the parties, the cocaine and the sex life involving famous models and Hollywood actresses.

His life takes a major turn when he meets his future wife and famous actress Jayne Dennis. He becomes clean from drink and drugs; they marry and move to suburban Connecticut, where life is not as simple and innocent as it seems. As soon as they arrive the married dream begins to fall apart; Easton Ellis relapses, young boys from the neighbourhood begin to disappear, his daughters `Terby' Doll seems to be alive and after Easton Ellis. But most unbelievably his most infamous creation, Patrick Bateman, the American Psycho has apparently come to life, stalking the neighbourhood causing mayhem through his grotesque copycat American Psycho murders . The question that brings such trouble to the reader is; is this purely a drug induced hallucination, is it purely a lie or is it in fact the truth?
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on 4 January 2006
Had this book not been recommended for our Book Club, I wouldn’t have read it; this is the first book of Bret Easton Eliss’s which I have read. In the opening chapters the author describes how he hates his father; yet, this hatred generated his creativity and created demons which come back to haunt him in later life. The main character is a loathsome creature, a drug-taking lothario who is only interested in young girls (and boys). A previous girl-friend who he impregnated talks him into marrying her for the sake of his young son who is in need of a father; so he goes to live in the suburbs and takes on the roles of husband and father which he realises that he is not cut out for. His epiphany arises from actually confronting the demons of the past in a horrific way and he realises that because of his hatred of his father he can never have a relationship with his son but that somehow this doesn’t matter because his son forgives him and it occurs to him that boys don’t need fathers and that his son will survive on his own along with many other runaways who detest the controlled lives they live as sons of superstars. This is a very provocative novel, the author appears to be confronting the readers of his past novels; he gave them what they wanted to read and as a result he became super-rich and successful; so the novel constantly challenges the reader; is it art mirroring life or life mirroring art? It is a very interesting read; Ellis draws the reader’s attention to the casual way in which drugs are administered to children. He pokes fun at marriage counsellors and therapy in general. He produces deep insights – page 132 is an amazing description of the comprises people have to make in life. This book vacillates between fiction and reality. One feels very sorry for the main character’s wife and son because Bret is only interested in remaining as a Peter Pan (a gregarious drug taking bachelor with no responsibilities apart from those to himself).
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on 21 October 2010
I really wasn't prepared for the marvellousness of this novel.What starts as an interesting insight in the mind and pointlessness of the author's life, filled with generous doses of dope, turns insidiously into one of the scariest books I've ever read, only to find its final solution and true meaning (the reconciliation with the real father) in the compelling and astonishing narration of the final chapter.This is the first book of Eliis that I 've read and it was the revelation of one of the greatest writers of our time!
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on 19 November 2012
I wonder if Bret Easton Ellis ever logs into Amazon & reads these customer reviews?

If so, I'd like him to know that I the final few pages of Lunar Park moved me to tears - something that, in light of his earlier (&, indeed, subsequent) writings, I thought impossible. Starting out as a witty Stephen King pastiche, with a generous measure of self-regarding parody, the realisation gradually dawns that this isn't a straight ahead horror story at all - instead, it documents one (fictitious?) writer's inexorable, painful drift towards middle age, & his ensuing emotional struggle.

Maybe I'm just being naive. Perhaps Lunar Park is merely a cynical authorial experiment in manipulating it's readers' emotions? Or perhaps, for once, Ellis has opened his heart a little, to express a lingering, reflective regret?

Either way, it's a very good read.
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on 21 August 2009
I finished this baby this morning and I am absolutely uplifted by this
as well as inspired.I have only read two of Bret Easton (Less than zero
and American psycho) Elis's novels but this is the best to date.It seems
to be a lethal cocktail mix of horror,comedy and drama.It claims on the
reverse of the novel that it's all true but I doubt it.

It begins with Bret's younger days in the 80s and his descent into drugs
and then his life with Jayne Dennis,his saviour and then transforms into
a Stephen King kid of tradition with his step daugters toy doll coming to
life etc,someone impersonating Patrick Bateman fro m American psycho.

`Lunar park` is tragic and excellent.Also very uplifiting and humane.It's
kind of fiction blended in with dfake auto-biography.I recommend this to any
fans of Bret Easton Ellis or anyone generally interested in his work!
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on 24 March 2009
This is an absolutely stunning novel: a laugh-out-loud social satire mixed with a surreal and genuinely scary horror story. Its ambiguity is entirely intentional. As with the Glamorama reviews, I'm amazed how many readers here have completely missed the point. When Ellis creates 'shallow' characters they are MEANT to be shallow. When he creates bizarre story shifts that defy logic, they are MEANT to do this. These are not failings of the author, but examples of his incredible command of language, his huge imagination, his devastatingly effective sense of humour, his bottomless capacity for parodying the worlds he scrutinises. Lunar Park was never meant to be a 'straight' novel with a standard plotline, as should be obvious from page 1. Go along with its playful mischief, its inspired gothic surrealism and its extremely dark humour and you will be in for a real treat. This is an all-time classic: one of the best 20 novels ever written. I'm off to read it again now.
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on 15 May 2006
Read the first 60 pages of Lunar Park and you might be tempted to re-jig your week so you can fit this novel in. You feel excited to be reading something in prime condition from one of the US's most inconsistent novelists. In those first few pages, he makes some fine jokes about opening lines (his own) and even manages to get one in of his own that sounds fittingly memorable and meaningless. It's frightening stuff (Any lingering thoughts that I might be reading Glamorama were painlessly extinguished) and climaxes with a frenetic, witty description house party (with Jay McInerney cameo) where the Ellis personas go into meltdown. He goes over his career in rollicking confessional mode, gleefully exposing himself with all the recklessness of a writer of fiction. Which he still is. For after these 60 pages, things start to get seriously weird for the narrator Brett. His life goes badly downhill. But so does the writing. All of a sudden the great prose, the crackling dialogue, the wit, it just goes. He starts writing in these stupid short, descriptive sentences that would be beneath King or Koontz. Things get very, very weird. It's interesting for a while (Ellis is stalked by a Patrick Bateman character) but it soon becomes obvious he hasn't a clue where he's going with this or what it means. It's like he sat down, knocked out the first half in an unstoppable flow and then burnt himself out with a half a manuscript left. I'll probably re-read that first part. I'll just know to stop after the party next time.
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VINE VOICEon 23 October 2006
Having read through the first few pages of this novel, I had to flick ahead to check if the first chapter was in fact an extended introduction. That's when the brilliance of this novel dawned on me. The adoption of the quasi-autobiographical style to this work was a stroke of genius demonstrating new depths to Easton Ellis' capabilities.

I was enthralled by this book from start to finish, and whilst nothing Easton Ellis has produced to date could ever stand up to his modern-day classic American Psycho, this would be the strongest contender from his catalogue. Witty; full of suspense; and engaging, this is a well written work of fiction.

With Lunar Park, Easton Ellis is completely redeemed after the nonsense that was Glamorama. Definitely a 2006 must have!
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