- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (3 Nov. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330447971
- ISBN-13: 978-0330447973
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 408,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Less Than Zero Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Nov 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
And yet I cannot seem to stop, and whenever I have to, I become very anxious to return to it as quickly as I can. Its appeal is no less powerful for being difficult to pinpoint or explain.
This experience reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what.... Oh yeah, I know: Bright Lights, Big City. Way better, though, so far. I love all the characters' clothes.
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.
I consider myself a writer's worst reader, because it takes a lot to keep me turning the page. I get lost in endless poetic prose, tune off and then put down. I have to say, though, that Less Than Zero is the first book I've read in about seven years which I considered 'unputdownable' (even if I had to, it reaching 2am on several occasions).
It's a difficult book to sum up. There's very little in the way of narrative that I can pin down. Teenager Clay comes back from college after a term away and slides back into his old, banal, repetitive lifestyle, except now, having escaped it for a while, he begins to see it for what it is. Ellis' crisp, frugal prose reminds me of Hemingway, but Hemingway not afraid to hide what he's saying behind politically correct metaphors.
At times it was moving, and others shocking, but it was never less than absorbing, even if much of what Ellis writes about here is a representation of boredom. By the end, I was almost feeling sympathetic toward Clay. Ellis could have made it more of a clear cut tragedy, but I don't think it would have been as half as realistic (and therefore, effective) as it is.
Since reading this I've gone out and bought the rest of Ellis' books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This should be read by anyone up to the age of about 26 who's struggling to quit the weekend lifestyle of narcotics and booze, real wake up call that's well written and harrowingPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Got pretty bored with this book I must be honest. Nearer the end a bit of insane darkness gripped me temporarily but I didn't really see the point. Read morePublished 1 month ago by martin partridge
Brett Easton Ellis hits the right balance between documentary and commentary in this, his first novel. Read morePublished 4 months ago by olbillrcs
A STEADY WRITERS HAND IS AT WORK HERE.VERY SATISFYING READ.BUT ALSO SOMEWHAT DISQUIETING,AS IF THERE IS AN UGLIER TRUTH BJUST BENEATH THE STORY WE ARE BEING SERVEDPublished 7 months ago by Sean Bennett
The book deftly serves up a slice of 80s superficiality with a side of impending doom. Do not expect any character depth or progression, storyline or dénouement -- that's... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mash