Customer Reviews


81 Reviews
5 star:
 (27)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (20)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Generation
Where did Bret Easton-Ellis come from? I don't mean geographically. I mean how did someone in their early twenties write such a complete book? Less Than Zero is so accomplished it's incredible. It tells the story of the teenagers of the rich and famous, and their decent into decadence simply in search of something to do. These characters simply have nothing to risk. They...
Published on 8 Sep 2005 by rp

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repellent characters that do nothing
I'm sure some will say that this book is an allegory for a moral decline in American youth etc. When I read a book I want to find a story, good writing, characters etc. This was just a series of pointless activities by repellent self absorbed non-characters - went to party, took drugs, had pointless conversation, may or may not have sex, wake up, go to party, take drugs,...
Published 16 months ago by Damo Green


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Generation, 8 Sep 2005
Where did Bret Easton-Ellis come from? I don't mean geographically. I mean how did someone in their early twenties write such a complete book? Less Than Zero is so accomplished it's incredible. It tells the story of the teenagers of the rich and famous, and their decent into decadence simply in search of something to do. These characters simply have nothing to risk. They are dead to the world and completely souless.
I think a lot of other authors wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to satirise the characters. Easton-Ellis looks beyond the shallowness of his characters and the result is a tragedy worthy of Evelyn Waugh, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately, Less Than Zero is not as entertaining as Vile Bodies or The Great Gatsby. It's on a par with The Sun Also Rises though.
I think as the years go by, this book will be seen as more and more tragic, and an extremely good record of 1980s America at it's most empty and decadent. When it was first released some reviewers misread it as some kind of nihilistic call-to-arms for young party people. There's even an excerpt on the back of the book from one reviewer who compares the characters to The Beat Generation and generally approves of their wild party antics. I think now that the dust has settled it's easier to understand the meaning of this book. There's no soul in this party.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Depressingly brilliant, 3 Nov 2007
By 
Bruno Alves "mfan" (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
I think the most astonishing thing about Bret Easton Ellis's first book is how well constructed it is, how it permanently keeps you on edge, and how effectively it conveys an atmosphere of increasing dread out of what starts out to be just an impressive amount of shallowness. American Psycho notwithstanding, Less than Zero might just be his most powerful book, and if you are new to Ellis, then you are in for a real treat. For those in the know, all the familiar Ellis themes are already firmly in place: the emptiness, the alienation, the complete boredom of a spoiled generation - abandoned and eaten by their parents - who only get their kicks in the most perverse and obscene ways. These LA scenesters are utterly dead, or better yet, they are undead, and, like proper vampires, need to sustain themselves on a steady diet of human sacrifice. The deaths, OD's, car-crashes and snuff films are the only things that raise a flicker of genuine interest in them. All the rest (the parties, the drugs, the sex) is just business as usual.
What is not business as usual is the way Ellis carefully builds on this, introducing and exposing the reader to all the superficial drug abuse and mindless sex before building up to the real decadence underneath - the only one that seems to elicit a flicker of interest (if not true excitement) from these walking dead. And in Clay, Ellis has one of his best characters: as dead as the rest of them, he expertly guides the reader through this emotionally barren landscape, showing just the tiniest bit of troubled humanity needed to sustain the reader, towards the final scenes, before returning to his emotionally flat-lined natural state. In any novel, this type of pacing would be great, but for a first novel written in his mid-twenties, it is absolutely ace. Read it and be depressed by Ellis's brilliance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The dumbest generation yet, 22 Oct 2007
By 
Trevor Coote "Trevor Coote" (Tahiti, French Polynesia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Very much a practise run for American Psycho, this nihilistic tale of alienation and ennui among 1980s Los Angeles youth leaves the reader with a feeling of emptiness and despair. This is not alienation through poverty but through excess, the triumph of consumerism over imagination, catalysed by a second-rate culture and education system, and poor quality parenting. Narrated by Clay, on holiday in Los Angeles for Christmas, a clique of decadent and aimless young Californians subsists on a soulless diet of MTV cable, porn films, cocaine, crystal meth and loveless sex; what Philip Roth has called `the dumbest generation yet.' In this moral vacuum they drift from one ruinous party to another, indifferent to the often tragic consequences of their actions (ODs, abortions), balancing precariously between a meaningless life and a meaningless death. The novel is powerful, effective and accomplished in a horrible sort of way, with an undertone of menace, but in the end you can't help feeling that it is as pointless as the lives of the cartoon-ish characters within. A book to sink the spirits.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawless, 28 April 2007
By 
R. Butler (Tyneside) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
An amazing debut novel from Ellis. The characters in this book inhabit a world in which morality simply does not exist. No consideration is ever given to the rights and wrongs of a behaviour. It is a savage indictment of modern culture in which the consumption of experiences and sensations prevails over all else. It is a world inwhich the individual takes precident over society as a whole. It can be read as attack on 1980's economic liberalism where there was "no such thing as society" and where "greed is good".

All this is written in a sparse style that merely provides us with a narrative of events, never offering us any moral interpretation of these events.

All this said, it could just be about a bunch of rich kids screwing and getting high.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desolate but effective, 14 Aug 1999
By A Customer
An effective portrayal of a defunct and desolate generation, whose world consists of sleazy sex and drugs, everything's for sale. Clay gives such a detached narrative, almost diary like, trapped on a personal conveyor belt to emptiness. His coldness, and emotional numbness to this world is so effective that you occasionally feel lost also. A great novel, almost like a diary, not really consisting of any major storylines, however still an intensely effective depiction of how those who have everything are often the most unfulfilled.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the bleakness of existence in 208 pages, 27 Dec 1999
this is THE BOOK... if you were ever looking for a book to communicate the emptiness of life, the disappearance of society and the commodification of society this is that book... i guarantee that if you take this book seriously it will change your life... you will be brought face to face with the impossibility of communication and connection with others... the vacuity of experience and lived life... we are all throwing chicken in the bucket for the man
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutal, 5 Feb 2010
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
This book is a brutal indictment of how life can fester to the point of nothingness... less than zero. Trapped in a world of drugs and sex, clay and his friends know only how to party and gossip... There lives are empty and have no content, lost in an endless cycle of depression, highs and lows. A shocking yet somewhat true portrayal of the postmodern city where life is all about instant gratification...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The No Future Generation, 19 Oct 2007
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
"Less Than Zero" is the first novel by the American writer Bret Easton Ellis. The main characters name is Clay, a New Hampshire college student, who returns home to Los Angeles for Christmas vacation. Clay and his friends are travelling from party to party, taking drugs and having sex with one another. It's the normal life of American upper class teenagers, but then the parties are getting wilder and wilder, Clay notices that his best friend is a junky and other friends of his are watching hardcore snuff pornos. And once Clay asks a friend: "Why are you doing this? You have everything," and he answers: "No I don't. I don't have anything to lose."
And that's exactly what the book is about - the description of the "no future generation". It's the generation which has nothing to do, because they have everything. So they are destroying themselves, and B. E. Ellis describes this mercilessly.
"Less Than Zero" is a harsh and violent book, which shows the problems of our society: boredom, egoism, over-stimulation... "Less Than Zero" was written in the 80's, but the problems are as relevant today as they were then.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining zilch, 6 Dec 2009
By 
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
enjoyable slide into 80s nihilism and sex/drugs for the rich set. For a novel in which very little happens, at least for most of it, it is strangely captivating and engrossing. The passage of one word after another seems mesmerising and overall I enjoyed it.

At times it's also funny and at other times really disturbing and as with all BEE it's never quite clear which is which.

Worth a go.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repellent characters that do nothing, 9 Jun 2013
This review is from: Less Than Zero (Paperback)
I'm sure some will say that this book is an allegory for a moral decline in American youth etc. When I read a book I want to find a story, good writing, characters etc. This was just a series of pointless activities by repellent self absorbed non-characters - went to party, took drugs, had pointless conversation, may or may not have sex, wake up, go to party, take drugs, have pointless conversations and so on in an endless pattern. The last couple of chapters are particularly unpleasant, especially the lead character's ambivalence and inaction at events taking place.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Less Than Zero
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (Paperback - 1 April 2011)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews