Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lunar Park by Brett Easton Ellis

Lunar Park
4 Stars
“You dream a book, and sometimes the dream comes true. When you give up life for fiction you become a character.”
What 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 sorts:

“I was not about to put myself through that experience again – of revisiting Patrick Bateman . . . Exploring 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 me.”

For the lovers of American Psycho (a/k/a MEEEEEEEEEE!) Ellis confirms the argument we’ve been making about the book for eons:

“The 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 mores, and not about cutting up women. How could anyone who read the book not see this?”

Ha! 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, sounds more like 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 horror.

“I 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 dissolution.”

If 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.”

Was it a ghost?

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Patrick Bateman??

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The author himself???

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Or could it be the most horrific creature of all . . . the FURBY?!?!?!?!?!

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You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out.

My endless thanks go to Snotchocheez for the recommendation. You did good!

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