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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 April 2017
Sympathetic and gripping, as honest as it could be - stunningly accurate, filled with detail sometimes you may not want to know - 'The rules of attraction' is one my favorite Bret Easton Ellis works. the fact that every little chapter is a different person talking, makes you go back and forth relentlessly and I just love it. It's sad and hearth breaking if you look at it in the right light, beneath all the physical numbness and wobbly morality.
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The Rules of Attrction (Brett Easten Ellis's second novel) is a richer and deeper expression of the nihilistic, satirical themes he covered in his stark debut. Whereas Less Than Zero concentrated on the pointless existence of rich, hedonistic Camden student Clay (covering his drug-fuelld return to LA one holiday), The Rules of Attraction follows three -- similarily pampered and self-obsesseive/destructive -- students (this time at Camden college itself).

It is much more of the same, really -- none-stop partying, drinking and references to popular 80s youth culture -- and in some ways is a much better novel. It is funnier (Ellis is sharper and more comfortable when swinging his satirical axe -- though his humour is still very subdued in comparison to American Psycho); it is more complicated (not just in there being three protagonsists, but also in scale (the college social drug sex mess is effortlessly constructed) and with a much bigger focus on the effects their bohimiem lifestyle has on their purchased souls) and you are left with an even bigger void of hope at the end of it all (despite its title, this is no romantic comedy).

I didn't really enjoy it as much, though. I guess, because it wasn't new to me anymore. I think I was hoping for a greater shift towards the raging satire of American Psycho. More of this novel is filled with the same empty observations and dialogue that made Less Than Zero so effective. This isn't a bad thing, but it takes greater effort to get into (getting to intimatley know three characters instead of one) and doesn't reward you with enough new ideas.

Anyway, that is only a slight disapointment: more of Less Than Zero is a good thing and I did enjoy reading this. Fans of his first novel will feel instantly at home here. If you haven't read that, then you I reccomend that you read it first -- I think it is a more focused and fluent example of Easton Ellis's early work.
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on 23 June 2017
Takes awhile to get into, however once you do it is amazing, one of my favourites.
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on 16 June 2017
Really boring book with loathsome characters. The story never goes anywhere. Tiring to read.
No redeeming aspects here whatsoever sadly
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on 7 October 2010
I must admit I have grown into a firm appreciation of Brett Easton Ellis rather than being a rabid fan from the outset. I enjoyed the first couple of books in the 80s [Clay, the narrator in Imperial Bedrooms, is a character from Less Than Zero] although well written, were almost disposable in a yuppies 80s sort of way. It was American Psycho that finally got me hooked and that book remains one of the best [and most shocking] I've ever read.

Whatever, Imperial Bedrooms. This is a lot slimmer slice of `stream of consciousness' story telling than those before in which there is in fact hardly any `story' as such, but more of a snapshot of lifestyle anxiety in the neoliberal materialistic morass of the early 21st century. Clay has returned to LA during a `break' in his standard issue media career, although it's not exactly clear how successful he's been at it, although one suspects not very. Wealth has nonetheless still clung to him which is perhaps another salient indicator of the nature of our times. He is obviously close to a breakdown, filling a life he secretly acknowledges as being shallow with delusions of love and friendship fuelled by the usual drugs and drink. It culminates in the trademark BEE scene of sexual and narcotic debauchery which is probably less shocking now than it once was, but still efficiently does the job.

Imperial Bedrooms is little more than a novella and the criticism that it seems to have been rattled off quickly are understandable but I think this misses the mark; the prose is in fact deftly managed, experimental but not numbing and clearly has been carefully designed. It may seem like easy stream of consciousness stuff, but BEE's talent is that he makes it look easy, when it is not at all.

In that way this book is perhaps closest to `The Informers' in its atmosphere of materialist ennui and aimlessness, than any of its other predecessors.

This is a great book to lose yourself in for a few hours, to just let wash over you, and then allow its subtle messages to creep up on you. Although it is based on the monied `elite' of a corporate America, BEE still has a strong message for our wider society in his analysis of that increasingly inept, corrupt, unimaginative but paradoxically continually enriched elite.

Finally, BEE is often described as the archetypal `post-modernist' writer with his arch-irony and cynicism, but again this is a moniker that misses the mark to my mind. There is something stridently modernist in his work as he exposes the fundamental flaws in our consumerist, individual-obsessed western culture. He perhaps doesn't meticulously pick it apart, or suggest any mechanisms for its amelioration as some modernist analysts do [of whom there are precious few of today anyway] but, as a novelist, he does do what a good novelist should do: he makes you think and then devise your own conclusions on what has been presented to you.
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on 30 January 2013
I'm a fan of Ellis and own his other titles so I thought I would purchase this book to complete my collection. If you have read less than zero you will be familiar with the characters in this book, which is supposedly a sequel, however even though I enjoyed less than zero, the characters in imperial bedrooms seem very one dimensional and the book doesn't seem to go anywhere, when I got to the end I wondered if I had missed something.
The plot is very flimsy if not none existant; its basically about guys who go around using and abusing everyone and everything they come across in the most degrading ways possible and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. It seems that everyone in the book are sociopaths at the very least, if not psychopaths, and while I know all the characters of Ellis's books are damaged, everyone in this book just seem evil.
Despite enjoying his other books, Imperial bedrooms just comes across as an exercise in moral nihilism and doesn't seem to have much to say for itself.
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on 25 May 2016
Excellent service. Will use again
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on 19 October 2016
Only average.
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on 20 November 2001
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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on 6 July 2010
The old gang from "Less Than Zero" are revisited in a sort of sequel, "Imperial Bedrooms". They were wasted as teenagers and they're wasted in middle age. Trent Burroughs is married to Blair, Julian Wells is around, Rip Millar is creepier than the last time, while Clay is as vapid and self-absorbed as ever.

The story begins with a film Clay wrote and is helping produce, "The Listeners", where he meets a desperate and beautiful actress, Rain Turner, who will do anything for a starring role. Clay and Rain become involved but then the murders start happening and Clay doesn't realise what he's gotten himself into nor who Rain really is. Mysterious texts follow sackings of his flat and blue/green BMWs stalking Clay wherever he goes. Somehow his "friends" are all tied into this and Clay has to decide who to trust...

If not for the characters' names this could easily be a standalone book rather than a sequel. Besides finding out that our heroes of "Less" turn out to be older and still behave like they did 25 years ago, it's not exactly a revelatory update. But that's fine because the book is more than the better for it. It launches straight into the story. The story seems very The Hills/The OC in style; it's all about who slept with who, what their game is, jilted love, revenge, etc. except for several horrific scenes. I'm thinking of what Clay does to the two hookers at the end and the grotesque murder (all detailed) of one of the main characters by another. Also, while this is a Hollywood novel, Ellis doesn't do what most Hollywood novels do and inject satire or parody into the story. It's a straightfoward serious story that plays off of perceived Hollywood stereotypes to construct something original.

Ellis specialises in 1st person narration and Clay's voice is as cold and dispassionate as it was in the '80s and the familiar scenes of drug abuse and sexual exploitation are told with all the emotional resonance of a shopping list. We see the story through Clay's eyes and his lack of interest in his friends from "Less Than Zero" heighten their characters' level of interest in the reader. Rip in particular is a menacing figure who seems to be somehow omnipotent but because Clay shields himself from finding out about Rip's life, we never know more about him, making Rip even more terrifying. Clay's a great character who evolves throughout the story from being emotionally detached to become totally changed, finally ending on the words "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people".

"1985-2010" follow the final sentence and makes me wonder if Ellis is giving up novel writing or maybe he's giving up writing the type of novel he's famous for. I hope that's not the case. Even if some will look at this and dislike aspects of it (and if you've read Ellis before and didn't like him, this book won't change your opinion), Ellis is still by far one of the finest novelists around at the moment. It was never going to be the groundbreaking book "Less Than Zero" was but it has the virtue of being more interesting than almost any novel published this year. "Imperial Bedrooms" is overall a well written and worthwhile read.
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