Glamorama [NOOK Book]

Overview

A young man in what is recognizably fashion and celebrity-obsessed Manhattan is gradually, imperceptibly drawn into a shadowy looking-glass of that society, there and London and Paris, and then finds himself trapped on the other side, in a much darker place where fame and terrorism and family and politics are inextricably linked and sometimes indistinguishable. At once implicated and horror-stricken, his ways of escape blocked at every turn, he ultimately discovers--back on the other, familiar side--that there ...
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Glamorama

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Overview

A young man in what is recognizably fashion and celebrity-obsessed Manhattan is gradually, imperceptibly drawn into a shadowy looking-glass of that society, there and London and Paris, and then finds himself trapped on the other side, in a much darker place where fame and terrorism and family and politics are inextricably linked and sometimes indistinguishable. At once implicated and horror-stricken, his ways of escape blocked at every turn, he ultimately discovers--back on the other, familiar side--that there was no mirror, no escape, no world but this one in which hotels implode and planes fall from the sky.
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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lawrence
A mixture of outrage and farce that connects the jet set to terriorist acts...and which feels strangely authentic. —Bookpage
James Patrick Herman
An inspired satire.
Elle
Brian Morton
You are invited to the opening of an American masterpiece. RSVP PDQ. —Scotland on Sunday
Michael Shelden
Gets under the skin of our celebrity culture ina way that is both illuminating and frightening.
Daily Telegraph(London)
Michiko Kakutani
Bret Easton Ellis doesn't need the National Lampoon to turn him into a parody — with Glamorama, he's done it himself.
New York Times
Matt Seaton
His best work to date...He remains a laser-precise satirist, but the wit now dominates.
Esquire
Jared Paul Stern
By far his most ambitious work.
Detour
Daniel Mendelsohn
Clearly, Ellis' authorial vision has grown broader and more inclusive over the past decade....The new novel [provides] Ellis with a vehicle for his strengths, which are essentially reportorial rather than novelistic....[Ellis is] a kind of conceptual artist in print.
The New York Times Book Review
Alex Ross
One of the passing delights of Glamorama is to imagine how scholars of postmodern fiction will explain it a century hence...Ellis invests a fresh hell on every page...[And] through all this mayhem the style remains mysteriously elegant. -- The New Yorker
Dennis Cooper
Hilariously brittle pop-culture references fly by...Ellis' hypnotically perfect prose is able to incorporate just about any convention he puts his mind to. -- Spin Magazine
Adam Begley
Glamorama is Mr. Ellis at his best and worst. The first 150-odd pages are stunning...the heaps in the last two-thirds cancel the bravura beginning. We're left, natch, with less than zero. -- The New York Observer
Walter Kirn
. . .What's fresh and arresting in Glamorama, is its uncompromising triviality, its rigorous transience. . .There's enough high amusement in Glamorama, enough illegitimate literary fun, to more than make up for its tedious tilt toward meaning. -- New York Magazine
Library Journal
Glamorama is the story of a young man in trendy New York who finds himself sucked into a darker, looking-glass version of the city.
Daniel Mendelsohn
Clearly, Ellis' authorial vision has grown broader and more inclusive over the past decade....The new novel [provides] Ellis with a vehicle for his strengths, which are essentially reportorial rather than novelistic....[Ellis is] a kind of conceptual artist in print. -- The New York Times Book Review
Andrew Morton
An affirmation inside a horror story... A big colleciton of paradoxes: of truth and lies, of beauty and fear, of principle and depravity...A master stylist with hideously interesting new-fangled manners and the heart of an old-fashioned moralist. -- The Observer(London)
Christopher Lawrence
A mixture of outrage and farce that connects the jet set to terriorist acts...and which feels strangely authentic. --Bookpage
Andre Leon Talley
An express-train ride, in my mind, to hell...It does for the cold, minimal 90 what American Psycho did for the Wall Street greed of the 80s. You name it, he manages to get it all in. -- Vogue
Matt Seaton
His best work to date...He remains a laser-precise satirist, but the wit now dominates. -- Esquire
Bruce Hainley
Brutally funny...superb...Glamorama courses with energy and intelligence. -- Bookforum
Adam Mazmanian
A comic and frightening story...A plotline that arcs and undulates...The pleasures of a celebrity-worshipping narrative overlaying a violent, chilling and, in the style of Ballard, instructive plot. -- Newsday
Rhonda Lieberman
His impeccable portrait of high-living mannequins exudes a glamour...cold and pitiless and modern....He captures a cultural moment of radical dandyhood, when distinctions of sexuality seem less important than whether you look like a model and wear Prada. -- Village Voice
Simmy Richmond
Slowly and ominously, a new voice emerges from Ellis: This is a political thriller bursting with conspiracies, double agents and international terrorists...Compelling and scary while managing at the same time to take our peculiar obsession with celebrity and literally blow it to pieces. A bonfire of the vanities? Glamorama is more like a Semtex attack on our superficialities. -- The FaceLondon
Jared Paul Stern
By far his most ambitious work. -- Detour
James Patrick Herman
An inspired satire. -- Elle
Kyle Smith
Ellis' novel of high-society lowlifes adds up to much, much less than Zero. -- People Magazine
Michael Shelden
Gets under the skin of our celebrity culture ina way that is both illuminating and frightening. -- Daily Telegraph(London)
Brian Morton
You are invited to the opening of an American masterpiece. RSVP PDQ. -- Scotland on Sunday
Michiko Kakutani
Bret Easton Ellis doesn't need the National Lampoon to turn him into a parody -- with Glamorama, he's done it himself. -- The New York Times
James Panero
The plot is nihilistic; the characters, depraved. And page after page is filled with horrible, graphic violence. So why do I get the feeling Ellis is a closet conservative?....[It is perhaps] a conservative novel -- though one so steeped in liberal pop culture that it's easy to miss the point. -- National Review
From the Publisher
“Arguably the novel of the 1990’s … Glamorama should establish Ellis as the most ambitious and fearless writer of his generation…. It is perfectly of out time … a must read.” —The Settle Times
 
“Impeccable… cold and pitiless and modern.… [Ellis] captures a cultural moment of racial dandyhood, where distinctions of sexuality seem less important that whether you look like a model and wear Prada.” —The Village Voice
 
“Compelling and scary. A political thriller bursting with conspiracies, double agents and international terrorism. Glamorama is like a Semtex attack on our superficialities.” —The Face

"Ellis is fast becoming a writer of real American genius.” —GQ

"His best work to date.... He remains a laser-precise satirist but the wit now dominates.” —Esquire

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307756428
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/9/2010
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 257,124
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Bret Easton Ellis lives in New York City.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Read an Excerpt

We'll slide down the surface of things . . . Old U2 on the stereo and gridlock jams the streets two blocks from the club and I'm not really hearing the things that are being said in the back of the limousine, just words--technobeat, slamming, moonscape, Semtex, nirvana, photogenic--and names of people I know--Jade Jagger, Iman, Andy Garcia, Patsy Kensit, the Goo-Goo Dolls, Galliano--and fleeting pieces of subjects I'm usually interested in--Doc Martens, Chapel Hill, the Kids in the Hall, alien abduction, trampolines--because right now I'm fidgeting with an unlit joint, looking up through the limo's sunroof, spacing on the sweeping patterns spotlights are making on the black buildings above and around us. Baxter and Lauren are sitting across from Chloe and me and I'm undergoing a slow-motion hidden freak-out, focusing on our excruciating progress toward the club while Chloe keeps trying to touch my hand, which I let her do for seconds at a time before I pull away to light one of Baxter's cigarettes or to rewind the U2 tape or to simply touch my forehead, specifically not looking in the direction of Lauren Hynde or how her legs are slightly spread or the way she's staring sadly back at her own reflection in the tinted windows. "We all live in a yellow limousine," Baxter sing-laughs. "A yellow limousine," Chloe sings too, giggling nervously, looking over at me for approval. I give it by nodding at Baxter, who's nodding back, and I'm shuddering. We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

Finally we're at the curb in front of the club and the first thing I hear is someone yelling "Action!" and U2's "Even Better Than the Real Thing" starts playing somewhere out of the sky as the driver opens the door and Baxter's checking his hair in Chloe's compact and I toss him my cummerbund. "Just wrap this around your head and look dreamy," I mutter. "You'll be okay."

"Victor," Chloe starts.

A wave of cold wind sweeps over the crowd standing behind the barricades in front of the club and causes the confetti strewn over the plush purple-and-green carpet leading up to the entrance to dance and swirl around the legs of cops guarding the place and behind the velvet ropes stand three cool Irish guys Damien hired, each of them holding a walkie-talkie and a separate guest list, and on either side of the velvet ropes are huge gangs of photographers and then the head publicist--smiling warmly until she sees Chloe's dress--asks us to wait where we are because Alison, wearing the same Todd Oldham dress Chloe has on, and Damien in a Gucci tuxedo are making their entrance and posing for the paparazzi, but people in the crowd have already noticed Chloe and shout out her name in high, garbled voices. Damien appears unusually tense, his jaw clenching and unclenching itself, and Lauren suddenly grabs my hand and I'm also holding Chloe's and when I look over at Chloe I notice she's holding Baxter's.

Damien turns around when he hears people shouting out Chloe's name and he nods at me, then smiles sadly at Lauren, who just mutters something indifferent, and when he sees Chloe's dress he does a hideous double take and tries valiantly to smile back a humongous gag and then he hurriedly ushers Alison into the club even though she's in the middle of taking major advantage of the photo ops, obviously pissed at the interruption, and thankfully Chloe's already too blinded by the flashing cameras to have noticed Alison's dress and I'm making a significant mental note about what should happen once inside: dim all the lights, sweet darling, or the night will be over with.

The photographers start shouting out all our names as we move toward the stairs leading up into the club and we linger for the appropriate amount of time--our faces masks, Chloe smiling wanly, Baxter smiling sullenly, Lauren genuinely smiling for the first time tonight, me sufficiently dazed--and above the door in giant '70s lettering is a warning from MTV ("This Event Is Being Videotaped. By Entering You Consent to the Cablecast and Other Exhibition of Your Name, Voice and Likeness") and then we're inside moving through the metal detectors and Chloe whispers something into my ear that I can't hear. We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

And U2's "Even Better Than the Real Thing" bursts out as we enter the main room of the club and someone calls out "Action!" again and there are already hundreds of people here and immediately Chloe is pounced on by a new group of photographers and then the camera crews are pushing their way toward her and I let go of her hand, allowing myself to be repositioned by the crowd over to one of the bars, actively ignoring celebs and fans, Lauren following close behind, and I nab the bartender's attention and order a glass of Veuve Clicquot for Lauren and a Glenlivet for myself and we just stand there while I'm admiring Patrick Woodroffe's lighting design and how it plays off all the floor-to-ceiling black velvet and Lauren's thinking I-don't-even-know-what as she downs the champagne and motions for another one and glancing over at her I finally have to say "Baby . . ." and then I lean in and nuzzle her cheek with my lips so briefly it wouldn't register to anyone except someone standing right behind me and I breathe in and close my eyes and when I open them I look to her for a reaction.

She's gripping the champagne flute so tightly her knuckles are white and I'm afraid it will shatter and she's glaring past me at someone behind my back and when I turn around I almost drop my glass but with my other hand hold the bottom to keep it steady.

Alison finishes a Stoli martini and asks the bartender for another without looking at him, waiting for a kiss from me.

I grin boyishly while composing myself and kiss her lightly on the cheek but she's staring back at Lauren when I do this as if I were invisible, which tonight, for maybe the first time in my life, I sort of wish I was. Harry Connick, Jr., Bruce Hulce and Patrick Kelly jostle by. I look away, then down.

"So-o-o . . . another Stoli?" I ask Alison.

"I am now entering the stolar system," Alison says, staring at Lauren. Casually, to block her view, I lean into the bar.

"Welcome to the state of relaxation," I say "jovially." "Er, enjoy your, um, stay."

"You asshole," Alison mutters, rolling her eyes, then grabs the drink from the bartender and downs it in one gulp. Coughing lightly, she lifts my arm and uses my jacket sleeve to wipe her mouth.

"Um . . . baby?" I start uncertainly.

"Thank you, Victor," she says, too politely.

"Um . . . you're welcome."

A tap on the shoulder and I turn from Alison and lean in toward Lauren, who very sweetly asks, "What do you two see in that bitch?"

"Let's redirect our conversation elsewhere, 'kay?"

"Spare me, you loser," Lauren giggles.

Luckily Ione Skye and Adam Horowitz push through the crowd toward me--an opening I seize upon.

"Hey! What's new, pussycat?" I smile, arms outstretched.

"Meow," Ione purrs, offering her cheek.

"Excuse me while I kiss the Skye," I say, taking it.

"Yuck," I hear Alison mutter behind me.

Camera flashes explode from the middle of the room like short bursts from a damaged strobe light and Ione and Adam slip away into the churning crowd and I've lit a cigarette and am generally just fumbling around looking for an ashtray while Lauren and Alison stare at each other with mutual loathing. Damien spots me and extracts himself from Penelope Ann Miller and as he moves closer and sees who I'm standing between he stops, almost tripping over this really cool midget somebody brought. Shocked, I mouth Come here.

He glances at Lauren mournfully but keeps blinking because of all the cameras flashing and then he's pushed forward by the crowd and now he's shaking my hand too formally, careful not to touch either girl, neither one responding to his presence anyway. Behind him Chloe and Baxter are answering questions in front of camera crews and Christy Turlington, John Woo, Sara Gilbert and Charles Barkley slide by.

"We need to talk," Damien says, leaning in toward me. "It's crucial."

"I, um, don't think that's such a good idea right . . . now, um, dude," I say with careful, deliberate phrasing.

"For once you may have a point." He tries to smile through a scowl while nodding at Lauren and Alison.

"I think I'm going to take Lauren over to the 'Entertainment Tonight' camera crew, okay?" I say.

"I have got to talk to you now, Victor," Damien growls.

Suddenly he reaches through the crowd and grabs Baxter, yanking him away from Chloe and the MTV camera crew, and then whispers something in Baxter's ear and U2 turns into the Dream Warriors' "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style." Lauren and Alison have both lit cigarettes and are blowing smoke directly into each other's faces. Baxter's nodding intently and lets Damien sandwich him at the bar--in a style I wish was slightly more subtle--between Alison and Lauren, filling the empty space where I used to stand.

"Who's this?" Alison asks Damien dully.

"This is Baxter Priestly, baby," Damien says. "He wants to say hi and, um, wish you well."

"Yeah, yeah, you look really familiar," Alison says, totally bored, waving down the bartender, mouthing Another.

"He's in the new Darren Star show," I say. "And he's in the band Hey That's My Shoe."

"Who are you in the Darren Star show?" Alison asks, perking up.

"He's the Wacky Guy," Lauren says, staring at the bartender.

"Right, he's the Wacky Guy," I tell Alison as Damien pulls me away and uses my body as a barrier to push through the crowd and up the first flight of stairs to the deserted second floor, where he guides me toward a railing overlooking the party. We immediately light cigarettes. On this floor twenty tables have been set up for the dinner and really handsome busboys are lighting candles. On all the TV monitors: fashionable static.

"What in the fuck?" Damien inhales deeply on the cigarette.

"They're just, um, lighting the candles for dinner," I say, gesturing innocently at the busboys.

Damien smacks me lightly on the side of the head.

"Why in the fuck is Chloe's dress exactly like Alison's?"

"Damien, I know they look alike but in actuality--"

He pushes me toward the railing and points down. "What are you telling me, Victor?"

"It's a--it's supposedly a, um, very popular dress this . . . y'know . . ." I trail off.

Damien waits, wide-eyed. "Yes?"

". . . season?" I squeak out.

Damien runs a hand over his face and stares over the railing to make sure Alison and Chloe haven't seen each other yet, but Alison's flirting with Baxter and Chloe's answering questions about how high the fabulous factor is tonight while a line of TV crews jostle for the perfect angle and Damien's muttering "Why isn't she wearing that hat you picked up?" and I'm making excuses ("Oribe said it was a no-no") and he keeps asking "Why isn't she wearing the goddamn hat you picked up?" and Lauren's talking to fucking Chris O'Donnell and Damien guzzles down a large glass of Scotch then sets it on the railing with a shaky hand and I'm kind of like infused with panic and so tired.

"Damien, let's just try to have a cool--"

"I don't think I care anymore about that," he says.

"About what? About having a cool time?" I'm asking. "Don't say that." And then after a long patch of silence: "I really don't know how to respond to that." And then after a longer patch of silence: "You look really great tonight."

"About her," he says. "About Alison. I don't think I care about that."

I'm staring out over the crowd, my eyes involuntarily refocusing on the expressions Lauren's making while Chris O'Donnell chats her up, swigging from a bottle of Grolsch, Lauren seductively playing with the damp label, models everywhere. "Why . . . did you ever?" I hear myself ask, thinking, At least the press will be good.

Damien turns to me and I look away but meet his gaze when he says, "Whose money do you think this all is?"

"Pardon?" I ask, leaning away, my neck and forehead soaked with sweat.

"Who do you think is bankrolling all of this?" he sighs.

A long pause. "Various . . . orthodontists . . . from, um, Brentwood?" I ask, squinting, wiping my forehead. "Um, you. Aren't you like responsible for all of, um, this?"

"It's hers," he shouts. "It's all Alison's."

"But . . ." I stop, swaying.

Damien waits, looking at me.

"But . . . I don't know how to respond to . . . that."

"Haven't you been paying attention?" he snaps.

We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

"They found Mica," Damien's saying.

"Who?" I ask numbly, staring off.

"The police, Victor," he says. "They found Mica."

"Well, it's a little too late," I'm saying, trying to recover. "Right? Do not pass Go? Do not collect two million bucks, right? Junior's doing a great job and personally I always felt Mica was sort of--"

"Victor, she's dead," Damien says tiredly. "She was found in a Dumpster in Hell's Kitchen. She was beaten with a hammer and . . . Jesus Christ"--he breathes in, waves down into the crowd at Elizabeth Berkley and Craig Bierko, then brings his hand to his mouth--"eviscerated."

I'm taking this in with a large amount of extreme calm. "She OD'd?"

"No," Damien says very carefully. "She was eviscerated, Victor."

"Oh my god," I gasp, holding my head, and then, "What does eviscerated mean?"

"It means she didn't die a peaceful death."

"Well, yeah, but how do we know that?"

"She was strangled with her own intestines."

"Right, right."

"I hope you realize this conversation is off the record."

Below us I'm just looking down at Debi Mazar and Sophie B. Hawkins, who's with Ethan Hawke and Matthew Barney. Below us a photographer spots me and Damien standing by the railing and snaps three, four, eight shots in rapid succession before I can straighten my tie.

"No one knows this yet," Damien sighs, lighting another cigarette. "Let's keep it this way. Let's just keep everyone smiling until tomorrow."

"Yeah man, cool," I say, nodding. "I think I'm capable."

"And please try to keep Alison and Lauren away from each other," he says, walking away. "Let's make a concerted effort to try and pull that off, okay?"

"I think I'm capable, dude."

We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

Someone calls up to me and I move away from the railing and head downstairs back into the party and then Carmen, this Brazilian heiress, grabs my arm. Chris O'Donnell has moved away from Lauren, who spots me from across the room and just stares, and Baxter's still desperately keeping Alison occupied, even though it looks like she's losing interest, because she's rolling her eyes and making yapping gestures with her hands.

"Victor! I just see the film Beauty and the Beast and I love it! I--love--it!" Carmen's shrieking, eyes wide, flailing her arms around.

"Baby, you're cool," I say worriedly. "But it would be somewhat profitable if you chilled out a bit."

Alison pats Baxter on the side of his face and starts to move away from the bar toward the center of the room, where the camera flashes are most intense, and Chloe, predictably, is now standing with Chris O'Donnell.

"But Victor, you hear me?" Carmen's blocking my way. "I love it. I adore both the Beauty and the Beast. I love it. 'Be My Guest'--Oh my god!"

"Baby, be my guest. You need a drink." Distressed, I snap at Beau while pointing at Carmen. "Beau--get this chick a Caipirinha."

I push Carmen out of the way but it's too late. Tarsem and Vivienne Westwood grabbing each of my arms, I can only watch helplessly as Alison glides gaily, drunkenly toward Chloe, who's being interviewed with Chris O'Donnell for MTV, her expression becoming more confused the nearer she gets. Once she's behind Chloe, Alison sees the dress, immediately grabs a lighter out of Sean Penn's hand and, horror-struck, waves the flame so she can see Chloe better. Bijoux from MTV isn't looking at Chloe now and has lowered her microphone, and Chloe turns around, sees Alison, smiles, and in the middle of a tiny wave notices Alison's dress, grimaces, squints desperately, tries to take a closer look--Chris O'Donnell is pretending not to notice, which makes things better--and Bijoux leans in to ask a question and Chloe, dazed, turns hesitantly back to the camera to try and answer it, succeeds with a shrug.

Lauren is standing next to me holding a giant glass filled with what I can only hope is not vodka and without saying a word clamps her free hand onto my ass. Alison starts heading toward us, purposefully grabbing a martini off a passing tray and getting about half of it in her mouth.

"How did you get off the Xanax?" I'm murmuring to somebody quasi-famous.

"You mean get the Xanax."

"Yeah, yeah, get the Xanax, cool."

"I was withdrawing from marijuana addiction and so I went to my mom's doctor and--hey Victor, you're not listening to me--"

"Hey, don't freak, you're cool."

Alison walks up to me, licks my cheek and, standing incredibly close, places her mouth on mine, desperately trying to push her tongue in, but my teeth are clenched and I'm nodding to the guy who's talking about Xanax and shrugging my shoulders, trying to casually carry on my part of the conversation, when Alison finally gives up, pulls back, leaving my mouth and chin slathered with a combo of saliva and vodka, smiles meanly and then stands next to me so that I'm flanked by her and Lauren. I'm watching Chloe, her interview over, squinting into the crowd trying to find me, Chris O'Donnell still nursing his Grolsch. I look away.

Alison leans in and touches my ass, which I tense uselessly, causing her hand to creep across until it touches the back of Lauren's hand and freezes.

I'm asking Juliette Lewis how her new dalmatian, Seymour, is doing and Juliette says "So-so" and moves on.

I can feel Alison trying to push Lauren's hand off but Lauren's hand has clutched the left cheek and will not let go and I look at her nervously, spilling my drink on the cuff of the Comme des Garçons tuxedo, but she's talking to someone from the Nation of Islam and Traci Lords, her jaw set tightly, smiling and nodding, though Traci Lords senses something's wrong and tells me I looked great slouching in the seat next to Dennis Rodman at the Donna Karan show and leaves it at that.

A curvy blonde staggers over with a girl in an African headdress and this Indian dude, and the curvy blonde kisses me on the mouth and stares dreamily into my face until I have to clear my throat and nod at her friends.

"This is Yanni," the curvy blonde says, gesturing at the girl. "And this is Mudpie."

"Hey Mudpie. Yanni?" I ask the black girl. "Really? What does Yanni mean?"

"It means 'vagina,'" Yanni says in a very high voice, bowing.

"Hey honey," I say to Alison, nudging her. "This is Mudpie and Yanni. Yanni means 'vagina.'"

"Great," Alison says, touching her hair, really drunk. "That's really, really great." She hooks her arm through mine and starts pulling me away from Lauren, and Lauren, seeing Chloe approaching, lets go of my ass and finishes whatever she's drinking and Alison's tugging me away and I try to keep my footing to talk to Chloe, who grabs my other arm.

"Victor, what's Alison doing?" Chloe calls out. "Why is she wearing that dress?"

"I'm going to find that out now--"

"Victor, why didn't you want me to wear this dress tonight?" Chloe's asking me. "Where are you going, goddamnit?"

"Honey, I'm checking for specks," I tell her, shrugging helplessly, Alison pulling my shoulder out of its socket. "I've seen none and am gratefully, er, relieved but there might be some upstairs--"

"Victor, wait--" Chloe says, holding on to my other arm.

" 'Allo, my leetle fashion plate." Andre Leon Talley and the massive-titted Glorinda greet Chloe with impossibly wettish airkisses, causing Chloe to let go of my arm, which causes me to collide with Alison, who, unfazed, just drags me up the stairs.

We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

Alison slams the bathroom door, locks it, then moves over to the toilet and lifts up her skirt, pulls her stockings down and falls onto the white porcelain seat, muttering to herself.

"Baby, this is not a good idea," I'm saying, pacing back and forth in front of her. "Baby, this is definitely not a good idea."

"Oh my god," she's moaning. "That tuna has been giving me total shark-eye all night. Did she actually come with you, Victor? How in the fuck did she weasel in here? Did you see the fucking look she gave me when I first made eye contact?" Alison wipes herself and, still sitting there, immediately begins to rummage through a Prada handbag. "That bitch actually told Chris O'Donnell that I run a quote-unquote highly profitable fat-substitute emporium."

"I think your meeting could definitely be construed as an uh-oh moment."

"Why?" I shout out. "Does it bother you?"

"Let's just say--" Alison starts coughing, her face crumples up and between huge sobs she wails, "it was mildly horrifying?" She immediately recovers, slaps my face, grabs my shoulders and screams, "You're not getting away with this!"

"With what?" I shout, grabbing a vial away from her, scooping out two huge capfuls for myself. "What am I not getting away with?"

Alison grabs the vial away from me and says, "No, that's, er, something else." She hands me the other vial.

Already wired, I'm not capable of stopping myself from kissing her on the nose, an involuntary reaction to whatever I just snorted.

"Oh hot," she sneers miserably. "How hot."

Unable to move my mouth, I gurgle, "I'm speechless too."

"That little conversation we had, Victor, upset me very much," Alison groans, fixing her hair, wiping her nose with Kleenex. She looks at my innocent face in the mirror, while I stand behind her doing a few more hits. "Oh please, Victor, don't do this--do not do this."

"When?" I'm shouting out. "What in the hell--"

"About ninety minutes ago? Stop acting like such an idiot. I know you're a guy who's not exactly on the ball, but please--even this could not get past you."

I hand back the vial, wiping my nose, and then say very quietly, hoping to reassure her, "Baby, I don't know what you're talking about."

"That's the problem, Victor," she screams. "You never know."

"Baby, baby--"

"Shut up, shut up, shut up," she screams, whirling away from her reflection. "You stand in front of me just ninety minutes ago outside my apartment and tell me it's all over--that you're in love with Lauren Hynde? That you're dumping Chloe for her? Remember that, you humongous idiot?"

"Wait a minute," I say, holding up my hands, both of which she smacks at. "You're really coked up and you need a tranquilizer and you need to get your facts straight--"

"Are you saying this didn't happen, Victor?" she shouts, grabbing at me.

Holding her back, I look intently into her face and offer, "I'm not saying it didn't happen, Alison." I breathe in. "I'm just saying that I wasn't conscious when this occurred and I guess I'm saying that you weren't conscious either."

"Are you telling me we didn't have this conversation?" she screams. "Are you telling me I hallucinated it?"

I stare at her. "Well, in a nutshell, yeah."

Someone starts knocking on the bathroom door, which provokes Alison into some kind of massive freak-out. I grab her by the shoulders and turn her around to face me.

"Baby, I was doing my MTV 'House of Style' interview"--I check the watch I'm not wearing--"ninety minutes ago, so--"

"Victor, it was you!" she shouts, pushing me away from her. "You were standing there outside my place telling me that--"

"You're wasted!" I cry out. "I'm leaving and yeah, baby--it is all over. I'm outta here and of this I'm certain!"

"If you think Damien's ever going to let you open a fucking door let alone a club after he finds out you're fucking his little girlfriend you're more pitifully deluded than I ever thought possible."

"That"--I stop, look back at her questioningly--"doesn't really mean anything to me."

I swing the door open, Alison standing motionless behind me. A whole group of people squeeze past me and though they probably despise Alison they decide to surround her and take notes while she sobs, her face a wreck.

"You are not a player," is the last thing Alison ever screams at me.

I slam the door shut.

We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

Lauren stands with Jason London and Elle Macpherson exchanging recipe tips for smart drinks even though someone shockingly famous's penis exploded when his smart drink was mixed with "the wrong elements" and everyone goes "oooh" but Lauren's not really listening because she's watching Damien schmoozing a group that includes Demi Moore, Veronica Webb and Paulina Porizkova, and when Elle kisses me on the cheek and compliments my stubble Lauren abruptly looks away from Damien and just stares at me blankly--a replicant--and I wipe my nose and move toward her, suddenly in a very huggy mood.

"Have you heard?" she asks, lighting a cigarette.

"That I'm in dire need of a crisis-management team? Yes."

"Giorgio Armani couldn't make it because he's in rehearsals for 'Saturday Night Live,' which he's hosting."

"Dig it," I murmur.

"What did Alison want to show you?" she asks. "The third claw growing out of her ass?"

I grab a martini from a passing waiter. "No."

"Oh damnit, Victor," she groans. "Just live up to it."

Chloe stands in the middle of the room chatting with Winona Ryder and Billy Norwich, and Baxter Priestly is perched nearby drinking a tiny white-wine spritzer and people squeezing past us block the view from where Chloe and Damien stand of my hand clutching Lauren's while Lauren keeps staring at Damien, who's touching the black fabric of Veronica Webb's dress and saying things like "Love the dress but it's a tad Dracula-y, baby," and the girls laugh and Veronica grabs his hand playfully and Lauren's hand squeezes mine tightly.

"I really wouldn't call that flirting, baby," I tell her. "Don't get ruffled."

Lauren's nodding slowly as Damien, swigging a martini, shouts out, "Why don't you titillate me literally, baby," and the girls explode with laughter, fawning over him, and the entire room is humming around us and the lights of cameras are flashing behind every corner.

"I know you have a keen sense of the way people behave," Lauren says. "It's okay, Victor." She tosses back what's left of her jumbo-sized drink.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"About what?" she asks. "Your Bravery-in-the-Face-of-Doom nomination?"

"I'd be thrilled if you moved on to soda pop, baby."

"Do you love Chloe?" she asks.

All I can say is, "You look very Uma-ish tonight."

In the interim Damien moves over to us and Lauren lets my hand drop from hers and while I light a cigarette Alison spots Damien and excuses herself from Heather Locklear and Eddie Veder and prowls over, hyperventilating, and hooks her arm through Damien's before he can say anything to Lauren, refusing to look at me, and then she plays with his hair and in a panic Damien pushes her hand away and in the background the "cute" magician performs card tricks for James Iha, Teri Hatcher, Liv Tyler, Kelly Slater and someone dressed disconcertingly like Willie Wonka and I'm trying to be cool but my fists are totally clenched and the back of my neck and my forehead are soaked with sweat.

"Well," Damien says hollowly. "Well, well . . . well."

"Loved you in Bitch Troop, darling," Alison gushes at Lauren.

"Oh shit," Damien mutters under his breath.

"Nice dress," Lauren says, staring at Alison.

"What?" Alison asks, shocked.

Lauren looks directly at Alison and, enunciating very clearly, nodding appreciatively, says, "I said nice dress."

Damien holds Alison back as JD and Beau walk up to Damien and they're with some white-blond surfer wearing nylon snowboarding pants and a faux-fur motorcycle jacket.

"Hey Alison, Lauren," I say. "This is JD and Beau. They're the stars of Bill and Ted's Homosexual Adventure."

"It's, um, time for dinner," JD says tentatively, trying not to notice Alison vibrating with rage, emitting low rumbling sounds. She finally looks over at Damien's falsely placid face and sneers, dropping her cigarette into his glass. Damien makes a strangled noise, then averts his eyes from the martini.


We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

How it got to be eleven so suddenly is confusing to us all, not that it really means anything, and conversation revolves around how Mark Vanderloo "accidentally" ate an onion-and-felt sandwich the other night while viewing the Rob Lowe sex tapes, which Mark found "disappointing"; the best clubs in New Zealand; the injuries someone sustained at a Metallica concert in Pismo Beach; how Hurley Thompson disappeared from a movie set in Phoenix (I have to bite my tongue); what sumo wrestlers actually do; a gruesome movie Jonathan just finished shooting, based on a starfish one of the producers found behind a fence in Nepal; a threesome someone fell into with Paul Schrader and Bruce Wagner; spinning lettuce; the proper pronunciation of "ooh la la." At our table Lauren's on one side of me, Chloe's on the other along with Baxter Priestly, Johnathon Schaech, Carolyn Murphy, Brandon Lee, Chandra North, Shalom Harlow, John Leguizamo, Kirsty Hume, Mark Vanderloo, JFK Jr., Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Patsy Kensit, Noel Gallagher, Alicia Silverstone and someone who I'm fairly sure is Beck or looks like Beck and it seems like everyone's wearing very expensive pantsuits. Earlier in the day I was upset that Chloe and I weren't seated at Damien's table (because there were things I had to say to David Geffen and an apology I had to make to Calvin) but right now, watching Alison slumped against Damien while trying to light a joint the size of a very long roll of film, everyone very buzzed, people knocking into each other as table-hopping on a very massive scale resumes while cappuccino's served, everything sliding in and out of focus, it's okay.

I'm trying to light a cigarette someone's spilled San Pellegrino on and Lauren's talking to a kneeling Woody Harrelson about hemp production and so I tap in to Chloe, interrupting what I'm sure is a stunning conversation with Baxter, and she turns reluctantly to me, finishing another Cosmopolitan, her face taut with misery, and then she simply asks, "What is it?"

"Um, baby, what's the story with Damien and Lauren?" I inquire gingerly.

"I am so bored with you, Victor, that I don't even know how to answer that," she says. "What are you talking about?"

"How long have you known about Damien and your so-called best friend Lauren?" I ask again, lowering my voice, glancing over at Lauren and Woody.

"Why is my so-called boyfriend asking someone he actually thinks supposedly cares?" she sighs, looking away.

"Honey," I whisper patiently, "they're having an affair."

"Who told you this?" she asks, recoiling. "Where did you read this? Oh god, I'm so tired."

"What are you so tired of?" I ask patiently.

She looks down glassy-eyed at the scoops of sorbet melting into a puddle on her plate.

"You're a big help," I sigh.

"Why do you even care? What do you want me to say? You wanna fuck her? You wanna fuck him? You--"

"Shhh. Hey baby, why would you think that?"

"You're whining, Victor." She waves a hand in front of my face tiredly, dismissing me.

"Alison and Damien are engaged--did you know that?" I ask.

"I'm not interested in the lives of other people, Victor," Chloe says. "Not now. Not tonight. Not when we're in serious trouble."

"I think you definitely need a toke off that major joint Alison's smoking."

"Why?" She snaps out of something. "Why, Victor? Why do you think I need to do drugs?"

"Because I have a feeling we're on the verge of having that conversation again about how lost and fat you were at fourteen."

"Why did you ask me last night not to wear this dress?" she asks, suddenly alert, arms crossed.

Pause. "Because . . . you'd resemble . . . Pocahontas, but really, baby, you look smashing and--" I'm just glancing around, smiling gently over at Beck, fidgeting with a Marlboro, searching for Chap Stick, smiling gently over at Beck again.

"No, no, no." She's shaking her head. "Because you don't care about things like that. You don't care about things that don't have anything to do with you."

"You have something to do with me."

"Only in an increasingly superficial way," she says. "Only because we're in this movie together."

"You think you know everything, Chloe."

"I know a fuck of a lot more than you do, Victor," she says. "Everyone knows a fuck of a lot more than you do and it's not cute."

"So you don't have any lip balm?" I ask carefully, glancing around to see if anyone heard her.

Silence, then, "How did you know Alison was going to wear that dress?" she suddenly asks. "I've been thinking about that all night. How did you know Alison was going to be wearing the same dress? And you did know, didn't you?"

"Baby," I say, semi-exasperated. "The way you look at things is so hard--"

"No, no, Victor," she says, sitting up. "It's very simple. It's actually very, very simple."

"Baby, you're very, very cool."

"I am so tired of looking at that empty expanse that's supposed to be your face--"

"Alfonse." I raise my hand at a passing busboy, making a pouring motion. "Mineral water for the table. Con gas?"

"And why does Damien keep asking me why I'm not wearing a hat?" she asks. "Is everyone demented or something?"

Chloe zones out on her reflection in a mirror situated across the room while Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow celebrate her choice of fingernail polish and gradually we drift away from one another and those who aren't doing drugs light up cigars so I grab one too and somewhere above us, gazing down, the ghosts of River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain and my mother are totally, utterly bored.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Introduction

Less Than Zero shocked readers with its raw portrayal of the nihilistic excess of the 1980s. A first novel and international bestseller, it put writer Bret Easton Ellis squarely on the literati map -- while he was still in college. Several years later, American Psycho, about a serial killer who works in Wall Street, kept Ellis's name in the headlines and launched one of the most heated arguments in publishing history when publisher Simon & Schuster dropped the book because of its controversial subject matter. Now, with Glamorama, Ellis "has written a novel that trumps anything he's done before" (Spin) and, it is certainly his most ambitious book yet.
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Interviews & Essays

On Tuesday, January 19th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Bret Easton Ellis to discuss GLAMORAMA.


Moderator: Welcome, Bret Easton Ellis. Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you doing tonight?

Bret Easton Ellis: I am in the middle of a book tour, so I am stressed, but otherwise happy to be here.


Brian Knoll from University of Michigan: I thought everybody was predicting that the '90s would be a values-oriented decade that came as a result of society feeling bad for the horrific '80s. What happened? Do you believe that your book incorporates the fact that the tabloid news has now become "real news"? I have yet to read it but am very excited about reading it.

Bret Easton Ellis: I don't see myself exactly as a sociologist. I have always been uncomfortable as a novelist who predicts trends or thinks he can predict the future. When I am working on a book like GLAMORAMA, the things that interest me more are purely literary rather than the culture at large. But GLAMORAMA's narrator, Victor Ward, is a compendium of a lot of traits of the men of my generation that I have found annoying and bothersome. So I suppose there is some cultural reporting in the creation of that character. I believe that people behave not how a decade directs them, necessarily, but have had certain problems that are just basically human. What century they are living in notwithstanding. I was, as a writer, disgusted by the '80s, and I am disgusted by a lot of things in society in the '90s. I am basically a satirist. I hope I will be disgusted after the millennium.


Zak Buckley from England: Do you feel fascinated or oppressed by the spell of mass consumer goods?

Bret Easton Ellis: When I was writing GLAMORAMA, what I felt most oppressed by was this tyranny of physical perfection that our society keeps selling to us. We, against our better instincts, buy into it. The connection I was making between the fashion world and terrorism is that they both operate on making people feel insecure. That is oppressive. I don't know if I necessarily think consumer goods are oppressive. Probably because we are so inundated with them, we don't notice how inundated we actually are.


Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: In your new book, GLAMORAMA, you write many celebrities in as characters. The intention behind this seems clear; however, I am curious to know how and why you feel justified in using celebrities' names and characters in the context of satirical fiction.

Bret Easton Ellis: I would like to tell you that no celebrities were harmed in the writing of GLAMORAMA. The thousands of them throughout the book -- they function just as names. Their meaning is reflected in the characters' reactions to those names, and what, say, Winona Ryder means to a character -- just her name rather than anything she has accomplished. And when I started writing the book, it became apparent to me that Victor, because of the world he lived in and his "job," was going to be very interested in celebrities, and they were going to be, in fact, his currency, so I felt justified in a literary way to use them.


Tracey from San Francisco: I read AMERICAN PSYCHO, and there seemed to be a sort of viciousness underlying the entire novel. Certain passages seemed to depict violence simply for violence's sake, a sort of gratuitous orgy of torture. Why did you consider it fundamental to your novel to go to the extremes you did in depicting violence?

Bret Easton Ellis: With AMERICAN PSYCHO, I felt it was necessary to stay as true to the narrator's voice as possible, as I do with all my books. Here the narrator was a serial killer. Because of my aesthetic, he was going to describe the killings, torture, and violence in the same numbing detail that he describes every other aspect of his life. It would have seemed dishonest to me and not a full representation of that character if I had omitted those scenes. I do not feel by nature that I am necessarily, in my everyday life and personal life, interested in violence. I often wince and turn away in movies with graphic violence; but in the fictional world I create, I seem to be drawn toward characters who commit violence, and to stay true to them, I feel I have to describe that violence as unflinchingly as I can.


Pat from NY: What was up with all the body doubles? Jamie Fields saying, "I'm not Jamie Fields." Or Victor at the end being in both places, D.C. and Milan? Was this all part of his imagination? Was he just insane? Is the movie being made real, like a snuff film? Or was this, too, a product of Victor's drug-addled brain? Or an actual studio-type film starring Victor?

Bret Easton Ellis: I can answer this -- but what I will say is that I don't want to give away too many of the surprises in GLAMORAMA. If I answer some of these questions, the shock will be diluted. Sorry, bro!


Judy Grogan from Ocean City, NJ: I read that you wrote this novel over the course of many years. Did you have to go back and change all the celebrity names in the first part of the book to be up-to-date for 1999? Who are some of the people who didn't make the final cut?

Bret Easton Ellis: Actually, there is a secret history to this book, if you are a careful reader. You can tell that the book was written in sequential order from early 1990 to '97 by noticing which celebrities are mentioned in the first section, the middle, and the latter part. For example, in the opening, a lot of the actors in the TV series "Twin Peaks" are mentioned. In the last chapters, people like Fiona Apple and Ben Affleck are mentioned. I did not update anything. It didn't seem important to me. As I said earlier, the celebrities themselves weren't the message. Simply the lists of names were. And actually, I don't think anyone is left out of this book!


Shameel Arafin from East Village, NYC: Bret, I greatly admire AMERICAN PSYCHO. You've talked about the narrative in GLAMORAMA as something new to your work, reflecting your own growing up and realizing that lives actually do have their own narrative. But do you think that comes across in GLAMORAMA, where Victor goes to law school, gets the girl, likes dogs, gets the part in "Flatliners II"...but is still involved in some secret society or whatever. Any implications you might like to share? Has he grown up? Has he started living a "real," rather than shallow, film life?

Bret Easton Ellis: The maturing process of Victor Ward -- and again, I want to be careful and not ruin any surprises for a reader -- probably means more to me then it might to someone enjoying this book simply as a work of fiction. I know that I matured considerably during the writing of GLAMORAMA; I left my 20s and entered my 30s during the writing of it. The process of getting older is reflective in the tone, in that it is a narrative, and that characters alter and change whereas in my earlier fiction they did not, because I didn't view the world that way; and I think that Victor is the only one of my narrators to experience a change of mindset. But then, what does it mean that perhaps ultimately it doesn't save him? I don't have an answer for that yet.


Guillaume from Cambridge: Could you comment on the political turn that your work seems to be taking with GLAMORAMA, and the enigmatic opening quotations?

Bret Easton Ellis: The opening quotations reflect to me the two very different halves to this book: One is from Krishna, the other from Hitler. Though both epigraphs sum up nicely what the book is about, they also dovetail neatly the fact that the first part is almost a frothy screwball-like comedy of manners, and the second half is a much darker, sinister and evil part. As for the political bent in my work, I don't really see it. Victor's father is involved in politics, and part of the conspiracy at the heart of GLAMORAMA is connected to Washington, D.C., but that doesn't necessarily mean that the book is at all touching on anything political. My new novel, that is in its planning stages now, does take place in Washington, D.C., and tangentially revolve around the political world. But again, it is not because I am interested in the day-to-day lives of politicians or how politics affect the country, but just because as a social backdrop to a novel about many other things, I think it will be very suggestive. But I feel that I am rather apolitical myself, and though I loathe to admit it, I don't vote.


Jannine from Sydney, Australia: Do you and Jay McInerney discuss the fact that you seem to play with each other's characters Alison Poole is featured quite significantly in GLAMORAMA. How does Jay feel about your extending one of his characters, and in particular Alison, in GLAMORAMA?

Bret Easton Ellis: I only play with Jay's characters, but I will not let him play with mine. I think I first used one of Jay's characters from STORY OF MY LIFE, in AMERICAN PSYCHO. If memory serves me right, I think why that occurred was because Jay had pissed me off somehow that week, and I decided the best way to get back at him was to have Alison Pool have an encounter with Patrick Batemen. I know that sounds passive-aggressive, but sometimes that is the only way to deal with Jay. I also liked the character of Alison Pool and decided to use her in GLAMORAMA. See, she did survive! I think Jay was nice to me, so I let her survive her encounter with Patrick. I think Jay is flattered and amused -- and also wishes I hadn't done it!


John Gibson from Huntsville, AL: Your books seem to divide people, both critics and "normal" people. They either love it or hate it. Do you feel a sort of satisfaction that your writing is able to affect people so strongly and so deeply, whether they like it or not?

Bret Easton Ellis: Well, I have to say, I really don't think about that too much. It isn't part of the process of writing a novel, how people will respond to it; a reaction or a response to anything I have written doesn't register with me, because it is not part of the process of writing the book. On the other hand, of course, I like it when people are interested in my fiction, and it is nice when people tell me that the books meant something to them. Really the only good part of a book tour is meeting those readers. But I don't really feel either way about how my work divides critics. I do know, however, that my readers tend to be much, much smarter than my critics.


Sump Cush from Holly hood: Would you say that the decadent inanity of GLAMORAMA's characters is an opportunity for you to make your points even better than the characters of your '80s novels? In other words, does the '90s make for better material because we have progressed further down that trajectory of inanity? Thank you.

Bret Easton Ellis: I don't think that as a writer I am particularly interested in the "'80s" or "'90s." People assumed I was a chronicler of the '80s simply because I published four books that took place in that decade. I felt like I was writing about more things that were more universal than just how a decade affected the youth of this country. I don't look at GLAMORAMA as a book that is particularly about the '90s, even though it takes place in that decade. My concerns are more literary and not necessarily purely journalistic.


Jovan from Serbia: What sort of music do you listen to nowadays?

Bret Easton Ellis: Okay, what is in my car right now? Here we go: P. J. Harvey, Lauryn Hill, Hole, Beastie Boys, Lucinda Williams, Public Enemy, Elliot Smith, the Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach album "Painted from Memory", and that is just off the top of my head. Oh, and also, I have to admit this: Marilyn Manson.


Raskolnikov from England: Does it surprise you that the violence in AMERICAN PSYCHO drew such criticism and disgust from all quarters, while in GLAMORAMA the lucid description of the brutal slaughter of hundreds on an airplane goes almost unnoticed? Is society desensitized to political murder and more in fear of deranged individuals?

Bret Easton Ellis: No. I think that the outcry to AMERICAN PSYCHO occurred simply because that violence had a sexual nature. That seems to be far more upsetting to a reader than violence that isn't overtly sexual in nature. And I actually think I have become less desensitized to violence as I got older. For better or worse, and because I was tapping into a psychopath's mind, there is a certain kind of glee in the violence, and that was reported in a flat and pornographic tone. I think that is absent from GLAMORAMA, and because of the nature of the narrator, there is real pain and horror at the violence, which again reflects my feelings as I have gotten older. But then, I am just as horrified by reports in the paper or in the news of a mass murder or a rapist as I am of a bombing of an airplane or embassies or government offices.


Tonci from Croatia: Are there any sorts of terrorist groups with whose causes you sympathize, and do you think that violence can sometimes be a valid path to a certain solution?

Bret Easton Ellis: In GLAMORAMA, the terrorists do not have an overt political affiliation. They just seem to represent chaos and destruction. Add to this the fact that the narrator doesn't seem to understand what is going on, and it remains unclear at the end of the book what their motives are. That probably reflects my personal reaction toward terrorism. I suppose because I have been raised as a bourgeois white boy from a "comfortable" middle-class existence, I of course don't see how the violence that terrorists inflict on people solves anything. This comes from basically a fairly sheltered individual, and that may be why I have that attitude toward terrorism. Basically, I have never felt culturally or societally oppressed.


Peter from England: What do you think about all this millennium fuss? And are we in for some sort of an Armageddon this year?

Bret Easton Ellis: Only if Robin Williams makes another movie like "Patch Adams."


Janice from Iowa: Bret, do you agree with the John Waters's theory in the film "Female Trouble" that crime enhances one's beauty, and the more heinous the crime, the more glamorous the individual?

Bret Easton Ellis: Well, it depends on the cheekbones. It depends on how sexy that person is to begin with. And it depends on the crime they have committed. Of course I do not condone O. J. Simpson, but because high-profile criminals are photographed so much and the media is fascinated by them, they do become fetishized, and there is an element of glamour to that. By casting Divine in that role, I think Waters was actually proving that it is not true and ridiculous to think so. I think Waters was satirizing this culture's fascination with turning murderers into celebrities.


Jamie from Miami, FL: Who are some contemporary writers that you respect and read? What are three of your favorite books? Thanks.

Bret Easton Ellis: Don DeLillo is at the top of my list. Also Joan Didion, Robert Stone, Martin Amis, and Lorrie Moore's new BIRDS OF AMERICA. Three books that I admire a lot: Ulysses by James Joyce, Didion's PLAY IT AS IT LAYS, Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES.


Velimir from Croatia: Plans for next book? What about memoirs?

Bret Easton Ellis: It has been reported that I am working on a memoir about my adolescence in L.A. and my college years at Bennington in Vermont, and even though a lot of people have snickered at this idea, it is, in fact, true. Whether I will publish this memoir that I am working on is another story. I feel that because of the subject matter of my next novel, which will be more autobiographical than anything I have written so far, I need to write the memoir to psychically clear my head. Whether it will work out or not, I am not sure yet.


John-Shaw@hlp.com from Houston: You offer no hope for your characters in your books. What hope do you hold out for yourself in your own personal life, if any?

Bret Easton Ellis: My fictional world and my personal life are two distinct entities, and just because within my fictional world hopelessness interests me, it is not necessarily true of my real life. There are many elements in my fiction that don't correspond to the life I live on a daily basis. I live like any other healthy, normal person, despair about the state of mankind and our society and our culture; and I suppose that helplessness is reflected in my fiction. But on the other hand, I am not a suicidal person, and I can pretty much get through a day without crawling into a fetal position and putting a pillow over my head. At least now I can, I guess. Ask me that five years ago and you might have gotten a different answer.


Martin from Tallinn/Estonia: Do you find it interesting or shocking how often a lot of people have misunderstood your art? Have you thought out any explanation for that?

Bret Easton Ellis: No, I don't find it shocking. There is a wide array of readers out there with a wider array of opinions. There are a lot of people who hate my work and a lot who love it. And even the people who hate it understand what I am doing, but just don't like the way I have written a novel. Then there are people who probably love my work and don't understand my intentions. Reading is a completely democratic experience, completely subjective, and the feeling that you get from a novel is very, very personal. I do think, however, that there has been a willfulness on the part of some readers and critics to ignore the text of the books and to concentrate on criticizing me simply because of subject matter or my perceived public persona. That is, I think, probably unfair, but in the end, as I said earlier, it doesn't influence my writing one way or another. If your opinion is smart and measured, no matter whether it is pro or con, I pretty much have to respect it.


Malka from Pat Bateman's alma mater: Now that you've written many books about "chic" issues -- drugs, sex, rock 'n' roll, violence next door, violence abroad, models, and so on -- how do you think up-and-coming authors will fare in trying to make their own name in publishing rather than just becoming an element of the "Bret set"?

Bret Easton Ellis: Well, by being themselves, by writing what they feel passionate about. It is very simple: If you really believe in your material and it is deeply felt and there is honesty and truth in it, no matter how wild or dark the subject matter will be, I think you will find an audience and people who like your work. I don't think any writer is under the shadow of another and then it will be harder to get published because of that. I really think, if you stay true to your own feelings and the way you want to express them, you will always find responsive readers. I don't mean to sound so sappy and inspirational, but that is basically the bottom line.


Moderator: Thank you for joining us online tonight, Bret Easton Ellis. Judging from the amount of questions, you have quite a few readers interested in your new novel, GLAMORAMA. Do you have any parting thoughts for the online audience?

Bret Easton Ellis: Thank you for tuning in tonight, and I will be at a bookstore near you within the upcoming months. Don't be afraid to stop by. Thank you.


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    If you think you can handle it...

    This book messed with my head. Ellis writes so well I seriously had to convince myself these were not my memories but an amazing piece of fiction. The lead character is a model living on the west coast in the 80s. Ellis writes so amazingly that as someone who is very not into this kind of scene, I found myself reading this character's thoughts as my own. I've never experienced anything like this. With the lead character getting involved with a very dangerous scene, the plot gets crazy towards the end. It was thrilling, scary, and awful with moments of levity scattered throughout. I loved and hated this book at the same time.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2002

    brilliant

    a brilliant book because it makes you hate the story, the writing and the characters as you read the first part. brace yourself and make it through that because, that is when the story goes insane. only then do you start to see the purpose of the first part and the characters. black comedy is not a strong enough description - it succeeds as a satire because as you go through it seems so horrifying accurate and real. manhattan, or any other major city will not look the same to you again, nor will the 'beautiful people'.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2001

    A Psychotic American Masterpiece

    The title only hints at the brilliant roller-coaster ride contained in the pages of iconoclastic genius Ellis's latest literary funhouse mirror. As with 'American Psycho', 'Glamorama' is not for the sqeamish, faint of heart, or those looking for a light read. The initial pages of 'Glamorama' are trippy and seem to be all in good fun as they follow a day in the life of sweet-but-clueless New York model Victor Ward, but Ellis's MTV video-like imagery and wild narrative style quickly kick the story into higher, scarier planes. As Victor gets drawn into a web of deceit and terrorism, he keeps partying at breakneck speed in the world's fashion capitals as his worlds collide, elide, and implode. 'Glamorama' is a black-comedy mirror that reflects both the emptiness of pop-culture worship and the blurred line between order and evil. And, again as in 'Am. Psycho', Ellis weaves an outstanding pop/rock/alternative-music sountrack into his surreal, magic carpet-ride text. 'Glamorama' is his best work yet.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    Literary Genious and Captivating

    This is possibly my favorite book of all time. Living in Manhattan, I was initially absorbed by his detailed descriptions of all the sights and surreal attitude...but that all changed very quickly. What ensues is the most thrilling and ingenious story I have ever read. After recommending this to all my friends, they all reacted with the same enthusiasm and adoration for a great novelist and amazing storyteller!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2002

    Beyond bizarre

    It's hard to say which was more pornographic, the sex or the violence. Having read previous books by Bret Easton Ellis, I thought I was prepared, but this one really blew me away. Only those with cast iron stomachs should consider reading this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2001

    Actually, it was good...

    Ok. I'm going to start off by saying i'm a 14 year old and a freshmen in high school. I came here and saw sophmores and seniors saying that it was 'the most confusing book they've ever read'.. if you can read, and then can actually comprehend what you read, this book is mere child's play. Ok. now let me get to the book. This book, i bought it under the pretenses that it'd be confusing. I quickly read through it, and i loved it. I love how he created a self absorbed character and threw him in a situation that changed his whole world and outlook on life. I loved the way the story unfolded, and the chapters went backwards as a countdown, to the anything but disappointing ending. Ellis, yet again, has created a masterpiece. This book was written perfectly. Words alone cannot express how good it was. This book is something i'd recommend to anyone. No matter what style of reading you enjoy, you'd like this book. This book actually scared me because all of it can REALLY happen. I loved the way it mixed the whole political thriller into the whole modeling-entertainment industry. I loved how it was actually thrilling. This is a must read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2001

    Confetti Storm

    Luxurius book for the masses. Enjoy the B.E.Ellis pain attack. Remember, is a GenX man.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2013

    Totally vulgar. I loved it..

    The biggest attack on materialism since American Psycho.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    I want several hours of my life back

    If vapid characters, superficial plot lines, gore and gratuitous sex appeal to you, this is your book. Still trying to figure out what the point was, what was real/imagined.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Better You Look, The More You See

    I don't know what it was about the first 150 or so pages of this book that really just got me into Victor Ward's world and made me not want to leave, but whatever it was kind of...fizzled out for the rest of the book. I mean, sure, it stays interesting, but it's a completely different story after after part 1. I've never read a spy/terrorist thriller type story before, mainly because the people who write them are just terrible, and the stories are contrived action movie plotline wannabes, and that's just not worth reading. Anyway, Glamorama turns into one of these espionage-esque stories and does it well, in my opinion. I liked the way it worked. This does not mean it jives with the first part of the story. It's as though Mr. Ellis was making this up as he went, as a character says in the story. And all the stuff with the different film crews isn't confusing or anything, it's just...pointless? Sure, it has its funny moments, and it's thrilling moments, but Glamorama is like two completely different books mashed into one. I know that's the whole point, the two different worlds Victor inhabits throughout the tale, but the entire tone of the novel shifts, which is jarring. There were points where it was just boring. When he talks about people and clothes and useless things in the first part of the story, it's a narrative that's got spark and life. Everything after that is monotone, even the violence. Speaking of violence...what is everyone complaining about? This story barely has any violence, and the violence that does come (in heaps) doesn't show up until the last half of the book. There are a few graphic sex scenes but it's American Psycho sex here, so it's not erotic or sensual at all, just details. Which is fine.

    I don't know what I'm trying to say. I liked Glamorama, maybe even more than American Psycho (though Psycho wins for humor), I'm just not entirely sure why I liked it. I guess when you're traveling at such a blistering pace in the beginning, everything afterward has no choice but to seem slow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    For Those Who like... Graphic...

    It was a great book, don't get me wrong, but it was just a *tad* graphic. I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers, but other than that, this book was really good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2005

    Fantastic read

    Initially, I was looking for American Psycho, but when I couldn't find it I picked this book because of the cover.I didn't expect it to be that good, but it was fantastic, I really felt sympathetic for the lead charater. I loved this book. It's sad, it's funny, it's great. It made me a hugh fan of Ellis and since then I've read all of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2001

    you may not understand

    some people may not get the point behind alot of ellis's books, however, his subjects deal with real things that are happening around us and the people we often come in contact with. if you live in so. cal or nyc you will understand. if you don't ge tthe storyline then you still have alot to experience in in our messed up society.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    slowly made my way through a pointless journey

    this book was pathetic. i could NOT understand the plotline let alone follow what was going on...bret easton elis skips around so dang much you dont know whats going on. dont waste your time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2000

    most confusing book I ever read

    Well, I guess you get intrigued by the extremely glamorous characters during the first half of the book....but the whole first half you read endlessly, waiting for the plot to start. When it finally did for me, I got totally confused and couldn't figure out where things were coming from...shooting a movie, terrorists? (for those of you who read it, I never even figured out how he came across J.F.)Now, I'd have to say i'm a relatively intelligent person, and usually catch on to things quite quickly, but gosh! I had no idea what was going on, the ending gave me no closure whatsoever, the author NEVER uses periods in his writing (one sentence is an entire paragraph long, I bet the word 'and' was used about 5 trillion times), and basically was very disappointing. I'd have to say though, for about 1/4 or 1/5 of the book I was positively enthrawled like I never have been in any book, it was so captivating....but this part had no closure, no resolution...I ended up finishing the book only so I could try to figure out what was going on...but I couldn't do that either. The sex scenes were pretty good, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2000

    Great if you get past the first 100 pages

    I ended up both loving this book and being confused by it which is probably Ellis' objective. Although I had to reread the first and second chapters to try and understand his writing style, I eventually caught on and fell deeply into the character and story. The best way to understand this book is to stop trying to understand it at all...go with the flow and you'll come away with more insight than you ever dreamed possible. Thank you, Mr. Ellis, for letting me finally enjoy a contemporary writer of my own generation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2000

    An Oddyssey of A Modern Day Bloom

    In reading Glamorama I kept thinking am I crazy or does this read like a contemporary Ulysses? A period of time in the life of a New Yorker. The interiors work flawlessly. So I was pleased to read the interview with Ellis that indicated Ulysses was one of his favorite works. The influence is there. I commend Ellis for writing in the Delillo/Wallace style with the added strength of having a protagonist with dimension. I have just finished Glamorama and know that it will have to be read again. It is a sophisticated commentary on the choices we have to make about how we live ourlives. If you read any recent literary work it should be this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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