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The Rules of Attraction Paperback – 8 Jul 1988

3.9 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Paperback, 8 Jul 1988
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador Paperback (8 July 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330301861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330301862
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.7 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 512,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Inspired. A wonderfully comic novel." --Gore Vidal
"Ellis is, first and last, a moralist. Under cover of his laconic voice, every word in his [novels] springs from grieving outrage at our spiritual condition." --"Los Angeles Times Book Review"
"Serves to establish Mr. Ellis's reputation further as one of the primary inside sources in upper-middle-class America's continuing investigation of what has happened to its children." --"The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future – or even the present – who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read all of BEE's work, I believe this is the best example of his misunderstood genius. A complex, subtle and strangely poignant account of American college life in the 1980's, played out through three first-person narrators who show us the world through disillusioned, disaffected eyes. The characterisation is expertly done, and in the end we are left feeling a strange empathy with these hollow lives. It begins in the middle of a sentence and ends in the middle of a sentence, and true, nothing much happens in between, but this is a book about characters, not plot. Style truly reflects content, and the effect is to immerse you totally in the world being portrayed...
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By A Customer on 26 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
Ellis' second novel, sandwiched between scathing debut "Less than Zero" and the hard-hitting "American Psycho", was always going to be somewhat overlooked. However, it is just as involving and affecting , albeit subtler than A.P. It is the literary equivalent of creeping up on someone, tapping them on the shoulder and putting a mirror up to their face the instant they turn around. For a few seconds they are shocked by their own appearance... This novel is not about "them", the characters, the situations, it's about you. People you know, things you've done, or thought, or thought you've done but can't remember. An examination of a generation so bored with itself and its preoccupations that it's forgotten it was bored at all, and is simply floating from one pointless event to the next, one partner to the next, one drug to the next. It works on so many levels - outwardly shallow, but it's the superficiality that leads you to look deeper into the characters actions and motives. I personally would not criticise either the novel itself or Ellis style, but it has been mentioned elsewhere that he has been criticised for leaving a page blank, with accusations of pretentiousness for this. However, for me this was one of the most powerful moments of the story - the absence of Lauren's contribution for that day says more about her feelings then than she would ever spell out herself...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bret Easton Ellis' novel of the shallow, superficial world of self-obsessed, self-indulgent privileged preppies in an 80's American college setting is itself a perfectly mirrored shallow, superficial, self-obsessed, self-indulgent piece of work.

Yes, I can concede that Ellis knows how to write, his prose has craft, yes I can concede it has moments of bleak comedy, but at the heart (there is none) of this novel, as at the periphery, are only shallows.

Easton Ellis appears to feel nothing but easy, judgemental, one-dimensional contempt for his angsty, barfing, bonging, coke and drink fuelled characters, to a man or woman they are obsessed with getting wasted or not getting wasted, getting meaningless leg-overs or whining at their lack of meaningless leg-overs.

However, the lack of variety, each stream of consciousness voice equally self-pitying, equally gothic in its misery, became like being beaten over the head with a hammer, unvarying in its noise and pressure.

What I disliked, intensely was the absence of light and shade, of dapple, of variety to the fairly amorphous blobby group. I'm aware that for some reason Easton Ellis has some sort of cult status - I assume because somehow the times are admiring of tales of excess, the more wasted and degraded, the better.

This is a novel which only shocks (briefly), but never surprises. Once you begin the journey is absolutely known and never varies. Sure, we will get that classic triangle of A loves (well, actually, lusts for - no character touches real depth of emotion, just whines) B who whines and lusts for C who whines and (briefly) lusts for A.
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Format: Paperback
I understand those who say it is a completely meaningsless book, because it really is a book about nothing and I completely get those who say that it is absolutely brilliant, because it is about nothing and still leaves you with something. Reading The Rules of Attraction is like listening to a friend who tells you too much of what you don't want to hear and while he/she is talking and talking you realize that he/she got it all wrong, everything, the whole life, but you really can't do much about it because he/she is too far off for you to even bother.

Bret Easton Ellis lets a couple of college students (mostly Sean, Paul and Lauren) talk about their completely meaningless existance of sex, drugs and parties. What is fascinating here is to get the different perspectives of different people involved in the same love triangle and to see how the same situations, words and actions are perscieved completely differenty depending on what the person wants it to be. As the satirical elements were too hidden for me to find the book funny and the characters too unengaging to find it tragic, it were exactly those glimpses of hope and complete denial that made the book interesting to me.

Would I recommend The Rules of Attraction to my friends? Not really. But maybe I don't have the right kind of friends.
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