This novel could have been really something but it turned into a real dog s breakfast Crap all over the place What a mess Reading Lunar Park was like watching one of those jovial interviews with major serial killers you can find on youtube The reporter is alarmed mortified astonished to find himself quite liking this monster who slaughtered 17 human beings You get this kind of dialogue Hey Jeff, can you explain a little what would be going through your mind when you were drilling holes in those guys heads to make them into sex zombies Oh, you know, pretty much the same that would be going through your mind when you re trying to finish a tricky bit of DIY, John Aw, that so, Jeff Yeah, pretty much, John they laugh ruefully For the first 40 pages, Lunar Park sideswipes you with what appears to be a bizarrely truthful autobiographical account of BEE s own life and career Then it veers off into pure fiction when this version of Bret marries a famous movie star and winds up playing father to her two children This first part is lots of fun BEE portrays himself as a charming disarming kinda coke guzzling drug snorting alcoholic stumbling foggily through his revoltingly affluent day with attendant wife, kids, servants and girlfriend I was intrigued I was thinking Bret, where are you going with all this It kept me turning the pages, and they were very easy to read, and even quite funny At this point the book appeared to be three things at the same time A psychodrama about fathers and sons, laced with sadness A light amusing satire of very rich parents, with every damn kid in the neighbourhood medicated up to the maximum legally permitted An increasingly vicious hateful self portrait, circling brilliantly and fascinatingly around the psychological black hole that is American PsychoBut then it shimmies into a fourth thing which takes the rest of the story over and this is where the book drives over the cliff and smashes to bits on the rocks below, as it becomes a lame Stephen King story, or, since I ve never read one of SK s supernatural books, I should say, what I imagine rather contemptuously to be something SK might come up with fiction written by the main character Bret Easton Ellis starts to come to life Yes it seems that Patrick Bateman himself has been freed from American Psycho and is stalking the pages of Lunar Park, and up to his old tricks too Yawn.Yawny yawn yawn yawnioh ho hmmmm Oh , also, we get the device of a child s toy which also comes to life and turns homicidal This takes up the last half of this novel How many times have these two devices been used before in horror fiction 6,214 No, wait 6,793 I was using slightly out of date figures.Anyway, A LOT Bret, was that the best you could come up with By page 390 Bret is channeling Ghostbusters And a little later, An American Werewolf in London HOW THIS NOVEL COULD HAVE BEEN GREATThroughout this long tale, the fictional BEE is haunted by the evenfictional Patrick Bateman Just as, I guess, the real BEE is haunted by his own misogynistic horror of a novel Here he is on page 181, not wanting to think about American Psycho I closed my eyes again I did not want to go back to that book It had been about my father his rage, his obsession with status, his loneliness , whom I had transformed into a fictional serial killer I had moved past the casual carnage that was so prevalent in the books I d conceived in my twenties, past the severed heads and the soup made of blood and the woman er, let s skip that sentence Exploring that kind of violence had been interesting and exciting and it was all metaphorical anyway at least to me at that moment of my life, when I was young and pissed off I was transgressive and the book was really about style When in Lunar Park it seems that some crazy guy is pretending to be Patrick Bateman and copying each murder from American Psycho, BEE comments This was the moment that detractors of the book had warned me about if anything happens to anyone as a result of the publication of this novel, Bret Easton Ellis was to blame and that s why the National Organisation of Women had boycotted the book I thought the idea was laughable that there was no one as insane or vicious as this fictional character out there in the real world Besides, Patrick Bateman was a notoriously unreliable narrator, and if you actually read the book you could come away doubting that these crimes ever occurred There were large hints that they existed only in Bateman s mind The murders and torture were in fact fantasies fueled by his rage and fury about how life in America was structured and how this had trapped him The fantasies were an escape This was the book s thesis It was about manners and s, not about cutting up women How could anyone who read the book not see this I appreciated that this all sounds like a desperate attempt by BEE to convince himself that he had not written a horrible misogynistic novel And is the explanation adopted by AP s many fans Now if Lunar Park had continued to probe this clearly still open wound within BEE, and maybe ask why, in describing BEE s father s rage, or Patrick Bateman s fury at how life in America was structured, it had to be demonstrated through the torture and dismemberment of women, and not by some other means say, planting bombs in subways there are many ways to express a general rage , then we would have got something fascinating But it was not to BEE Instead, a lot of supernatural malarkey which once again is all about BEE s relationship with his father and fictional son In other words, it s all about him What a narcissist TWO AND A HALF STARSI liked the satire, I liked the sudden left turn weirdness until it became ridiculous , it wasn t boring at all It was stupid for all its preening intelligence but it wasn t dull.YELLOW LEGAL PADS a yellow legal pad that she would mark up and casually refer back to p288 What is it with Americans and their yellow legal pads If I had 1 1.23 for each time somebody uses a yellow legal pad in an American novel I could afford that world cruise Don t they ever come in any other colour No blue legal pads Always yellow Always legal Find all of my reviews atYou dream a book, and sometimes the dream comes true When you give up life for fiction you become a characterWhat is Lunar Park Brett Easton Ellis claims it to be his homage to Stephen King and you will see later in this review that it did indeed bring to mind one particular King character but when I really need to break it down to basics I m going with Lunar Park is what would happen if American Psycho and Fight Club and The Amityville Horror and Cujo all had a baby.This book is Ellis memoir, if you will The story begins with a review of his quick rise to the A List with the release of Less Than Zero and follows with the recognition of the almost immediate downward spiral that came with that success and which Ellis found himself looping through for years Ellis takes ownership that American Psycho was a sort of beginning of the end with respect to his mental state For the haters of American Psycho, he issues an apology of sortsI was not about to put myself through that experience again of revisiting Patrick BatemanExploring that kind of violence had been interesting and exciting and it was all metaphorical anyway at least to me at that moment in my life, when I was young and pissed off and had not yet grasped my own mortality, a time when physical pain and real suffering held no meaning for meFor the lovers of American Psycho a k a MEEEEEEEEEE Ellis confirms the argument we ve been making about the book for eonsThe murders and torture were in fact fantasies fueled by Patrick Bateman s rage and fury about how life in America was structured and how this had no matter the size of his wealth trapped him The fantasies were an escape This was the book s thesis It was about society and manners and s, and not about cutting up women How could anyone who read the book not see thisHa Take that suckers Once Ellis is done summarizing his past, he takes us to the near present Now attempting life as a not so straightlaced married man and father of two, Ellis lives in the burbs of the upper East coast and is starting a new novel which, from its description, soundslike Chuck Palahniuk s latest Ellis knew it would be a struggle to go from ultimate sinner to wanna be saint, but he had no idea what ghosts would come back to haunt him morphing Lunar Park from a Where Are They Now to a tale of true horrorI was living in a movie, in a novel, an idiot s dream that someone else was writing, and I was becoming amazed dazzled by my dissolutionIf you want a book that comes out of the gate revving its engines and raring to go, Lunar Park probably isn t what you re after However, if you want a slow burn that is the reading equivalent of a full course meal, I highly recommend this one Ellis proves that when you get rid of all the hype and hoopla surrounding his books, he is above all else a master wordsmith I was glued to this one to the last page and delighted in trying to figure out who was the bad guy dun dun dunnnnnnn Was it a ghost Patrick Bateman The author himself Or could it be the most horrific creature of allthe FURBY You ll have to read it for yourself to find out.My endless thanks go to Snotchocheez for the recommendation You did good Hear ye, hear ye I am SUCH a liar, you guys I ve always admitted to having read the whole B.E.E collection, but have lied This one makes it done Complete I am very VERY much done with Ellis at this point in my life it couldn t have been sooner.The one striking thing about this one is its description of the fall of the once mythical, once impressive B.E.E once famous and rich relevant, he grabs at past glories in a very saddening fashion, grabbing at straws really, trying to relive transplant various episodes of his once victorious and literary career Esp borrows heavily from American Psycho.This is very lame I ve been curious of where to place this book on the bookshelf Top Shelf Rules of Attraction 1 , American Psycho 2 , Glamorama 3 Mid Level Less Than Zero 4 OR the trash, alongside other dried turds such as The Informers 5 the most horrible of all, Imperial Bedrooms.That s right You may probably guess. I read several reviews of this book before reading, most of which denounced it as being awful and I have to say, I m surprised.I tore through it in 3 days I saw it as a near brilliant bit of mind f ckery, so many psychological themes and commentary on modern life for me to gleefully go searching on Google to tear up and figure out All that and horror, too I read somewhere that he was influenced by Steven King, in writing this one Indeed I have to say, I like the Ellis version of King even better I don t necessarily agree with those that say Ellis clearly hates himself He might Or he might also just have had an idea for a book like this and is a brilliant writer with a very interesting , shall we say, mind.But I go back to the commentary on modern life Having recently become a member of the suburban parent crowd, I had a great time reading his descriptions of the very sort of parents parenting style I m avoiding There was one quote, in particular, that I loved What happened to just wanting your kids to be content and cool These parents were scientists and were no longer raising their kids instinctually everyone had read a book or watched a video or skimmed the Net to figure out what to do I also found it incredibly clever to write a novel based on, or rather heavily referencing, your previous novels, in this way I m one of those people who, after watching movies sometimes before , likes to tear the plot apart and understanding the meaning, where it all came from In some ways, this felt like a very trippy readers guide to American Psycho It s Cliff Notes on steroids American Psycho just became that muchinteresting to me and I plan on going back to not only read it again but watch the movie again, as well, given this new insight.Yes, I m a little confused and unsure of some parts I ve come to expect that from Ellis But I like a book or movie that has me researching and discussing with other readers, trying to figure it all out To me, the books that deserve bad reviews are those that I ve forgotten the moment I close the cover and put it down.I can see how this is definitely not a book for everyone For me, there were many of my favorite elements There were several passages that had me thinking, I really wish they d make a movie out of this, just for the visuals I m a big fan of psychological horror with lots of blood and gore Dare I say this almost falls in line with the J Horror genre I saw a guy on the tube in London reading this and noticed he was near the end I wanted to stand up and say, Hey, it s creeping you out, isn t it Isn t it ISN T IT But you just can t live your life that way It s inappropriate.Bret Easton Ellis, on the other hand, can do whatever the hell he wants And he does Putting yourself in a novel is either the ballsiest thing you can do, or the assy est In this case, both But let s put aside the fact that Ellis is writing a tale about semi pseudo Ellis It s also a damn disturbing ride, and the fact that he had the nerve to treat himself the way he treats all his other characters, facing off with self disemboweling dogs and the world ishorrible than we pretend madness, is just cold, man Cold. I feel funny now No, this novel wasn t a how to be a comedian manual under the guise of some kind of fucked up, deranged horror I feel FUNNY funny, strange funny, like someone touched me inappropriately and I don t know how I feel funny Halfway through the book, I put it down and eyeballed my partner and started throwing existential crisis theories at him I have this problem with depersonalization and derealization where in heightened states of anxiety you detach from your reality or your sense of self Mostly it s triggered by standing in shopping centres and being overwhelmed with rage, disgust, fear and hunger but sometimes it s triggered by someone fucking with my head As Bret Easton Ellis did with me with Lunar Park Is this real, what is real, that s not real, is he in a psychotic meltdown, oh fuck, what s going on, somebody GET MY DAUGHTER S FURBY OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE No, just joking, I havetaste than to buy my daughter a furby let alone fill it with my haunted past so that it turns into a soul sucking demon bird crazed, fuck what is going on here Alternating fear, discomfort and amusement I didn t know how I felt My confusedness is showing in my review Okay, if you re a parent, one of your kids probably has a toy that creeps you the fuck out You can t get rid of it because that would just be reinforcing the fact that a you are insane and b gutless My daughter has this troll in a pink princess dress that creeps out anyone who touches it My sister in law visited recently and she picked it up thinking it was some type of obese barbie doll but upon flipping it over, she was faced with the horrors of all horrors and she promptly dropped it This doll definitely does things to me in my sleep, it probably watches me shower, swims in my urine when I forget to flush the toilet, is that little tickle on my foot at night that I imagine is the cat WHEN I KNOW IT REALLY ISN T You may have thought I went off on a tangent there You were right but a problem shared is a problem halved and now I feel better. Bret Ellis, The Narrator Of Lunar Park, Is A Writer Whose First Novel Less Than Zero Catapulted Him To International Stardom While He Was Still In College In The Years That Followed, He Found Himself Adrift In A World Of Wealth, Drugs, And Fame, As Well As Dealing With The Unexpected Death Of His Abusive Father After A Decade Of Decadence, A Chance For Salvation Arrives The Chance To Reconnect With An Actress He Was Once Involved With, And Their Son But Almost Immediately His New Life Is Threatened By A Freak Sequence Of Events And A Bizarre Series Of Murders That All Seem To Connect To Ellis S Past Reality, Memoir, And Fantasy Combine To Create Not Only A Fascinating Version Of This Most Controversial Writer But Also A Deeply Moving Novel About Love And Loss, Parents And Children, And Ultimately Forgiveness 2018 is the year where I graduate and become a faux adult or whatever , but I ll probably remember it as the year I read the whole bibliography of Bret Easton Ellis Other than Imperial Bedrooms and Informers, most of his works seem to work well with me Lunar Park starts as a honest memoir and then turns into a freakshow and then clusterfuck of bunch of random clusterfucks This is his only book written in past tense and it certainly feels a bit deviated from his other works But, did I really like this book I m not sure It was chaos forced all over the place But again, it s Bret Easton Ellis and I m biased One can call Lunar Park a satire like his other books, but it reads like a vague apology with fake nonchalance for American psycho which wasn t necessary anyway Unlike his other books, this one does have a plot and things happen in every page and there s not a single boring moment But I d still pick LTZ over middle aged BEE any given day. There s a story behind the film Adaptation scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman had a hard time adapting The Orchid Thief, so what did he do He wrote a film about him having a hard time adapting The Orchid Thief, writing himself into the script, creating for himself a twin brother, dedicating the finished piece to the sibling who didn t exist Author Bret Easton Ellis, creator of American Psycho and other transgressive novels, wrote himself into his novel Lunar Park, conjuring for himself a family, a film actress wife, a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs, a son A series of brutal murders, a haunting, a loss I write stories but I could never imagine writing myself into one of them, even as an exercise Of course every writer writes himself into his stories, his fears, his joys, but how terrifying to see your own name on a page, to see yourself as a fictional character running away from fictional horrors Honesty can be very frightening, so with Lunar Park Ellis was being very brave Ian McEwan asks, How can a novelist find atonement when, in his novels, he is God But Ellis found atonement There was one long passage in the novel that ends with From those of us who are left behind you will be remembered, you were the one I needed, I loved you in my dreams Writing these words, would it be too much to say that Ellis found freedom Perhaps, upon finishing the novel, he had forgiven everyone and everything that had to be forgiven, and in the process also found absolution.I think this is a remarkable book. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are two of my favorite films So in 1996, when From Dusk Til Dawn was released, I was in line on opening night For the first hour, I watched what was undoubtedly the finest work Tarantino had produced to date, and I eagerly anticipated a typically dramatic conclusion but something went horribly wrong FDTD degenerated into a B grade vampire flick For ten horrific minutes, I tried to convince myself that one of the characters had fallen asleep, been knocked out, ANYTHING which would allow the on screen action to be dismissed as temporary, someone else s nightmare, a prelude to the rest of the film rather than What The Film Had Become Lunar Park reminded me of From Dusk Til Dawn , except the pleasant prelude didn t last quite as long The first chapter was brilliant, as Ellis, whose main character is a fictional creation named wait for it Bret Easton Ellis pokes a goodly amount of fun at himself, his career and the state of his life.Then the book falls horribly flat before getting worse This is a creepy cocktail of heavy drinking, excessive drugs, doped up children, and creepy hauntings Ellis writing itself is as good as ever, but thematically, he s a mess For those who loved some or all of Less Than Zero , The Rules of Attraction , and American Psycho , but were disappointed by The Informers and Glamorama , this book represents a continuation of trend He covers a lot of interesting bases, but runs them out of order As such, this book represents the third strike for Ellis.One caveat on your next visit to your local book store or library, hang around and read the first chapter it s a brilliant satiric synopsis of Ellis entire career Sharply written and bitingly acerbic, it s a must read for any Ellis fan Just don t read the rest of it, and certainly don t pay for it.
Tama Janowitz and
- 404 pages
- Lunar Park
- Bret Easton Ellis
- 10 August 2017 Bret Easton Ellis