Bret Easton Ellis is characteristically blunt concerning the central theme of all his work — in his phrases: “the rich, and how fucked up they are.”
His newest novel, The Shards, sees him revisit Buckley, the luxury highschool he attended within the early Nineteen Eighties.
Regardless of a fictionalized serial killer plotline, a lot is drawn from his actual life, as Ellis and his comrades lounge round their swimming pools and drive to class in sports activities automobiles. Intercourse and medicines punctuate their free time.
“It is a privileged set of characters. I write about the rich and I always have,” he informed AFP throughout a go to to Paris.
“We were much more privileged than I ever thought when I was younger. The first time we began to get some acne, boom: expensive dermatologist. In Beverly Hills none of my friends had acne,” he mentioned.
Buckley’s college alumni embody well-known names reminiscent of Matthew Perry from “Friends” and Kim Kardashian.
However Ellis’s household life disabused him of any romantic notion of wealth.
“My father (property developer Robert Ellis) was a rich asshole. My pleasure in whatever status I might have had — that was ruined by him. So I always looked at wealth in a suspicious way.”
This has coloured all his work, from the drugged-out alienation of his debut “Less Than Zero”, revealed when he was simply 21, to the murderous fantasies of Wall Avenue maniac Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.
‘Open and vulnerable’
Regardless of finishing his first novel at 14, it took Ellis many a long time to jot down instantly about his college years as a closeted homosexual teen.
“I could not have written this book at 18 because I was too cool. I posed. I was not open and vulnerable in my fiction in the way that I am now.”
The urge got here as a shock.
“Why were they coming back to me at 56, 57? Why was I thinking about my girlfriend — my poor girlfriend — the boys I was with, their beautiful bodies, teenage sex, adolescent passion — why was it coming back to me now?”
Ellis grew to become obsessive about these recollections in the course of the pandemic lockdowns. He looked for indicators of his outdated associates and haunts on-line, solely to seek out they’d “vanished”.
“After which it occurred… It simply form of poured out of me.
“It was very fun. I love writing a novel. I wish I was writing novels all the time but I’m not, because they don’t come to me easily. I don’t feel them.”
The Shards is his seventh novel and has been handled as one thing of a return to type, with rave evaluations since its launch in January.
He has at all times had detractors — upsetting right-wingers with all of the intercourse and medicines, and left-wingers along with his anti-woke politics, as detailed in 2019’s non-fiction guide White.
“I have my fans, people who like me, and I have a lot of people who don’t like me,” he mentioned. “It’s been that way ever since Less Than Zero. I am a very divisive American writer.”
Learn the total article here