Review of Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

“This is what would happen if I gave my kids a trust fund.” – said someone, about this book.

I fear this frame of mind for our youth. This casual nihilism, this destructive illusion of indestructibility. At times powerful, at other times, just not that compelling. Excessive, isn’t it? It is, at the very least, thought-provoking on the level of: If only you kids understood anything about how the world works. I recommend listening to the audio version, love thy neighbor, and try to wash out your ears afterward.

Bret Easton Ellis’ remarkable debut novel, rife with topical allusions, already glows with pure pop 80’s nostalgia (not that I’m that old…) in the 2010’s – why, it’s almost 2020, but somewhere, probably, kids are acting like this, and B. E. E. was brave enough to write about it in the first person, and having spent a day in L. A. I feel like I might have seen some of these people walking around… Joking, of course. Take the whole thing as a joke, it’s obviously an exaggeration… right?

It benefits from brevity. Being in the vicinity of these characters is possibly toxic. I found the other Ellis book I read less bearable than this one. He works in this sub-genre, skirting Hunter S. Thompson and Johnathan Lethem, carving out his own literary digs next to Donna Tartt, and reusing his characters later, at greater length, though I don’t think I have the wherewithal to follow through and read the rest of his oeuvre.

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