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Lunar Park

by Bret Easton Ellis
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA
  • Publishing date: 12/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0307276910


Book Description:
Imagine becoming a bestselling novelist, and almost immediately famous and wealthy, while still in college, and before long seeing your insufferable father reduced to a bag of ashes in a safety-deposit box, while after American Psycho your celebrity drowns in a sea of vilification, booze, and drugs.

Then imagine having a second chance ten years later, as the Bret Easton Ellis of this remarkable novel is given, with a wife, children, and suburban sobriety--only to watch this new life shatter beyond recognition in a matter of days. At a fateful Halloween party he glimpses a disturbing (fictional) character driving a car identical to his late father's, his stepdaughter's doll violently "malfunctions," and their house undergoes bizarre transformations both within and without. Connecting these aberrations to graver events--a series of grotesque murders that no longer seem random and the epidemic disappearance of boys his son's age--Ellis struggles to defend his family against this escalating menace even as his wife, their therapists, and the police insist that his apprehensions are rooted instead in substance abuse and egomania.

Lunar Park confounds one expectation after another, passing through comedy and mounting horror, both psychological and supernatural, toward an astonishing resolution--about love and loss, fathers and sons--in what is surely the most powerfully original and deeply moving novel of an extraordinary career.

A Tale of Two Brets: An Interview with Bret Easton Ellis
In his novel Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis takes first-person narrative to an extreme, inserting himself (and a host of real characters from the publishing world) into the haunting story of a drugged-out famous writer living in the suburbs trying to reconnect with his wife and son and reconcile his damaged past. Ellis is at the top of his game in Lunar Park, his first novel since 1999's Glamorama, delivering a disturbing and delirious novel about celebrity, writers, and fathers and sons (not to mention a cameo from notorious Ellis creation, Patrick Bateman). senior editor Brad Thomas Parsons spoke with Ellis in a Seattle to Los Angeles phone call to talk about the fact and fiction behind Lunar Park, New York versus LA, '80s music, and the whole "American Psycho thing."

Read the interview with Bret Easton Ellis

Less Than Zero (1985)
Published when Ellis was a junior at Bennington, Less Than Zero is the mesmerizing first-person chronicle of Clay, our laconic, zoned-out guide to a subculture of over-privileged nihilism in early '80s Los Angeles. He travels back home from Camden College (a thinly veiled Bennington) for Christmas break and re-enters his circle of jaded friends--including his ex-girlfriend Blair, and his best friend Julian, who's now hustling to support his drug habit--and a parade of Porches, late-night parties, cocaine, and casual destruction.

Ellis on Ellis: "I don't think it's a perfect book by any means, but it's valid. I get where it comes from. I get what it is. There's a lot of it that I wish was slightly more elegantly written. Overall, I was pretty shocked. It was pretty good writing for someone who was 19."

The Rules of Attraction (1987)
A line-up of Camden College students share the narrating duties in The Rules of Attraction, Ellis' sex-fueled, drug-baked second novel. There's Lauren (who's in the midst of losing her virginity as the book opens), who longs for her boyfriend Victor, currently traveling through Europe; Lauren's ex, Paul, a bisexual party boy who hooks up with hard-drinking closet-case Sean (surname Bateman--that's right, younger brother of Patrick), who also has the hots for Lauren. Less than Zero's Clay makes a cameo appearance as well as a passing glimpse of Ellis' Bennington classmate Donna Tartt's murderous Classics majors from The Secret History.

Ellis on Ellis: "It might be my favorite book of mine. I was writing that book while I was at college. Sort of like the best of times, the worst of times. There was a lot of elation, there was a lot of despair. It was just a really fun book to write. I loved mimicking all the different voices. The stream of conscious does get a little out of hand. I kind of like that about the book. It's kind of all over the place. It's casual. It's scruffy. That's the one book of mine that I have a very, very soft spot for."

American Psycho (1991)
Shopaholic sociopath Patrick Bateman's killer grip drags readers into a bloody, brand-name, urban nightmare as the 26-year-old Wall Street yuppie executes his grooming habits and eviscerates strangers with equal élan. Simon & Schuster dropped the too-hot-to-handle American Psycho which was then published as a paperback original by Vintage Books. Ellis received death threats while the book was boycotted, sliced up by reviewers, and went on to become a bestseller. Mary Harron's 2000 film version starred then little-known British actor Christian Bale, who would later suit up as the Dark Knight in 2005's Batman Begins.

Ellis on Ellis: "It was good. It was fun. It was not nearly as pretentious as I remember I wanted it to be when I was writing it. I found it really fast-moving. I found it really funny. And I liked it a lot. The violence was... it made my toes curl. I really freaked out. I couldn't believe how violent it was. It was truly upsetting. I had to steel myself to re-read those passages."

The Informers (1994)
Ellis returns to early '80s Los Angeles ennui with The Informers, a loosely connected collection of stories of the bored, rich, and morally depraved, written around the same time as Less than Zero. Sex, drugs, and gratuitous violence take center stage, with characters including an aging, predatory anchorwoman, a debauched rock star tearing through Japan, and a pick-up artist vampire. While some of the vignettes echo better Ellis works, ultimately the stories don't add to much as a whole. Book critics are less than receptive to Ellis' post-American Psycho offering.

Ellis on Ellis: "Those were written while I was at Bennington. I wrote a lot of short stories between 1981 or 1982 or so... The Informers more or less kind of represented probably the best of those stories. I wrote a lot of really bad ones, but those are the ones that worked the best together."

Glamorama (1999)
Actor-model Victor Ward (who first made an appearance in the Ellis oeuvre in The Rules of Attraction) is the narrator of Glamorama, Ellis longest novel yet. Ellis offers bold-faced names and celebrity skewering in the first half of the book as Victor tries to open a Manhattan club while cheating on his supermodel girlfriend and double-crossing his partner, but the second half takes a violent, paranoid turn as Victor is sent to England and unwittingly lured into a sadistic ring of international terrorists (posing as supermodels) leaving a bloody trail across the globe.

Ellis on Ellis: "[T]he book wasn't necessarily about terrorism to me. It was about a whole bunch of other stuff. It's definitely the book that I can tell--I don't know if other people can tell but I can tell as a writer--is probably the most divisive that I've written. It has an equal number of detractors as it does fans. It doesn't really hold true with the other books. It was the one that took the longest to write, and the one that seemed the most important at the time. It's an unwieldy book... I like it."

Ellis on DVD

Less Than Zero

American Psycho

The Rules of Attraction

Will the Real Bret Easton Ellis Please Stand Up?
Visit the author's Web site at

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  • It just went on and on about nothing
    From Amazon

    Whilst in San Francisco in 2005 was in a bookstore where Ellis read the first few pages of this book at a book signing. Now 3 years later after finally picking up a copy to take on holidays the great expectant read I anticipated never happened. The book just went on and on and never really went anywhere. Every page you turned waiting for the story to step to the next level,but it never does. Very disappointed.

  • Angst and Despair Reign
    From Amazon

    Reviewed by Charles Shea LeMone

    In his fifth novel, Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis has found the perfect anti-hero: himself. In an overview of his life he recounts selling his first novel while still attending college; receiving huge advances on future novels; his addiction to cocaine; numerous seedy sexual romps; abusing the limelight as a best-selling novelist (with more than one Hollywood film based on his books. Finally, he describes his eventual decline and fall from grace in the eyes of his once adoring public and publisher.

    In an effort to clean up his act, Bret marries a former flame, a successful actress who gave birth to his illegitimate son, Robby, now 11 years old. At this point, the novel detours away from its self-effacing autobiographical tone and slips into the chilling province of horror, as Bret declares, "Every word is true."

    Starting with a Halloween party held at his suburban home, Bret's new life begins to unravel as a series of supernatural events cause him to question his sanity. Following the first incident, when his step-daughter's mechanical doll takes on a life of its own, initially, Bret attributes the blood on the claws of the toy to delusions produced by the cocaine and the vodka he has once again begun to abuse.

    But too many other sinister events convince him otherwise. He starts receiving mysterious e-mails from the bank where his father's ashes are deposited. His home begins to transform, taking on the physical appearance of the unhappy home he lived in as a child. Boys in the neighborhood, the same age as his son, disappear. A woman he has been trying to seduce is killed. And a wave of grisly murders -- which mirror the acts committed by a serial killer he created in a previous novel -- bring a perplexed detective to question him. Meanwhile, his marriage appears doomed and his son's alienation and distrust of him intensifies day-by-day.

    This novel of angst and despair is as mesmerizing as a ten-car collision but is also frequently amusing. The climax and resolution of the story that Bret reaches, however, left me feeling unsatisfied. It was like being a guest at a sumptuous feast only to discover that the last dish served is half-baked. Still, I recommend this book to all Bret Ellis Easton fans and to all readers of fiction who enjoy delving into cleverly crafted tongue-in-cheek page turners.

  • Worth It
    From Amazon

    For a book that starts out with a pseudo autobiography, for a book that features a self-indulgent main character, for a book that draws its themes from a series of obvious inspirations (including Shakespeare), I was pleasantly pulled along. Unlike some of Ellis' other stuff, it was clear to me that the construction of the book was well developed and tightly layered. The tension builds slowly. The book dabbles in straight detective stuff, then veers gently (how is that possible?) into horror turf. Yet when the blood comes, it seems even more real, even more damaging, even more of a catharsis. If you can't get past the self-centered main character, put the book down. If you feel yourself surprised to be with this guy for so long, keep reading because the end is worth the trip.

  • Just awful
    From Amazon

    Ellis turns into a cheap wannabe-Steven-King. A bad bad spine chiller (we are talking monster birds attacking the narrator in a haunted house), that has no literary depth whatsoever. Gone the days when Ellis actually had to say something about the state of society. If you are a die-hard Ellis fan (And I used to be! I read every one of his books), then spare yourself this one. It will just disgust you.

  • I hated this book
    From Amazon

    So why the 5? The book is perfectly constructed, the characters are real, the choice of making the author the main character and his books important to the plot brilliant; the horror is spectacular. You are sucked into the vortex. But I hated this book. I was disgusted by the Ellis person, real or imagined, and his wife Jayne. They are failed persons: using drugs, prescription or felonious, alcohol, the works. But it's the utter narcissistic existence they live which is the real horror. The demon of Ellis' alter ego is apparently taking over the lives and home of this family. Jayne, the wife, is an actress concerned mainly with keeping family life on an even enough keel to be able to pursue her career and not be alone. While paid help are raising the kids. The little girl Sarah is on meds and so is the son Robby- so as to cause as little trouble to the parents as possible. To my thinking the demons were/are present from the beginning of Ellis life, and he's destined to have them as his only constant companions. The author chucks us a thin bare bone of hope and love (?) in the last few pages of the book. Thanks.
    Like many, I wonder what author Ellis is doing today. Why has his book tour been cancelled? Then again, I don't want to know anything further about this character, this author, this person, this mind. I'll never read another of his books, I'm certain.

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