So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Friday, February 17, 2006


American Psycho. Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho is a novel about Patrick Bateman, a successful Wall Street broker in the 1980's, as seen from his own point of view. He is a 27 year old Harvard grad, independently wealthy and totally self-involved. He judges everyone by the clothes they wear, and he knows clothing better than anyone in the fashion industry. He spends his days at the gym and the tanning salon, and his nights drinking and snorting cocaine with his rich friends at the trendiest restaurants. He is racist, classist, and sexist, and lies with ease about everything.

The novel is filled with an increasing tempo of images of violence as Bateman descends into a psychological prison of his own design. You get the feeling that he is telling this story to try to break out, but towards the end he sees that it will not work. He lashes out against the poor, other races, and women in increasingly violent portayals that are difficult to read.

I was hoping that the author would come to some epiphany or solution to this escalating spiral of violence. Instead he hints that Bateman is totally psychotic and imagining the violence. Instead of a brick wall, the author just turns out the light, leaving Bateman and the reader in the dark.

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