The Rules of Attraction

The Rules of Attraction

4.2 90
by Bret Easton Ellis
     
 

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Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future--or even the present--who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously

Overview

Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future--or even the present--who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian Camden College and treats their sexual posturings and agonies with a mixture of acrid hilarity and compassion while exposing the moral vacuum at the center of their lives.

Lauren changes boyfriends every time she changes majors and still pines for Victor who split for Europe months ago and she might or might not be writing anonymous love letter to ambivalent, hard-drinking Sean, a hopeless romantic who only has eyes for Lauren, even if he ends up in bed with half the campus, and Paul, Lauren's ex, forthrightly bisexual and whose passion masks a shrewd pragmatism. They waste time getting wasted, race from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World or The Graveyard. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance.

Editorial Reviews

NY Times Book Review
Serves to establish Mr. Ellis' reputation further as one of the primary inside sources in upper-middle-class America's continuing investigation of what has happend to its children.
LA Times Book Review
Ellis is, first and last, a moralist. Under cover of his laconic voice, every word in his [novels] springs from grieving outrage at our spiritual condition.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This tale of privileged college students at their self-absorbed and childish worst is the very book that countless students have dreamed of writing at their most self-absorbed and childish moments. With one bestseller to his credit,Less Than Zero author and recent Bennington College graduate Ellis has had the unique opportunity of seeing his dream become a reality, and all those other once-and-future students can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to them.

Through a series of brief first-person accounts, the novel chronicles one term at a fictional New England college, with particular emphasis on a decidedly contemporary love triangle (one woman and two men) in which all possible combinations have been explored, and each pines after the one who's pining after the other. Theirs is a world of physical, chemical and emotional excess -- an adolescent fantasy of sex, drugs and sturm und drang -- wherein characters are distinguished only by the respective means by which they squander their health, wealth and youth. Despite its contemporary feel and flashy structure, the book begins and ends midsentence -- the narrative relies on the stalest staples of melodrama and manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion and the death of a parent without giving the impression that anything is happening or that any of it matters.

Library Journal
Two years after his debut best seller, Less Than Zero, Ellis returns with a very different novel. Though still about college students (Ellis graduated only last year), this story is told through numerous student diaries, illustrating the 'accidents'' that often form the basis of modern relationships. Here, misunderstandings, differing perceptions, and often just bad hearing cause pairings to begin or end, proving Ellis' implicit thesis that there are no 'rules.'

Ellis has his pretensions (the book starts and finishes in the middle of a sentence, and one diary entry is in easy French), but he successfully fleshes out his characters and creates involving situations. -- Susan Avallone

From the Publisher
"Inspired. A wonderfully comic novel." --Gore Vidal

"Ellis is, first and last, a moralist. Under cover of his laconic voice, every word in his [novels] springs from grieving outrage at our spiritual condition." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Serves to establish Mr. Ellis's reputation further as one of the primary inside sources in upper-middle-class America's continuing investigation of what has happened to its children." --The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307756459
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/09/2010
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
372,279
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Bret Easton Ellis is the author of Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers, and Glamorama. He was born in 1964 and raised in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Bennington College and lives in New York City.

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The Rules of Attraction 4.2 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 90 reviews.
Ninja_Dog More than 1 year ago
In this novel, Ellis establishes the universe of characters for his more gruesome and surreal novels, "Amecian Psycho" and "Glamorama." Considered his most lighthearted novel, "The Rules of Attraction" still manages a level of darkness and inevitability. Each chapter is written from different perspectives of students at Camden college, the fictional analogue to Ellis' own East Coast alma mater. The three main characters constitute a twisted romantic triangle that's both petty and destructive. Sean Bateman (the brother of American Psycho's Patric Bateman) is infatuated with Lauren (the Lauren Hynde from Glamorama). Lauren fails to get over her love for Victor (the same Victor that's Glamorama's protagonist) while getting involved with Sean... and several others. Paul adds another layer to the conflict, sharing history with Lauren and becoming infatuated with Sean. Like with "Less Than Zero," the characters in this novel fail to learn from their moral shortcomings. While a "heroic" story will have morally flawed characters learn and grow from their trials, such is not the case in an Ellis novel. This story starts out reprehensible and just gets more destructive from there. Conflicts and pathologies totally lack resolution throughout and the novel ends with a broken, unfinished sentence, underscoring the finality of their collective drama. Despite the darkness of the plot structure, "The Rules Of Attraction" boasts some extremely funny chapters, including a chapter by Sean's French roommate written entirely in French. Getting a translation is well worth it, as his whining and arrogant love letter to Lauren is genuinely funny. Sean also has a chapter where he discusses a relationship with a hippie that I laughed out loud at several times. Both the moral depravity and the black humor of this novel are something of an embryonic necessity for this young author, suggesting the greater works of American Psycho and Glamorama that will follow this novel. While not "great" on it's own, I recommend that anyone interested in Ellis read this short novel before trying to tackle the gut-wrenching masterpiece of "American Psycho" or the existential nightmare of "Glamorama."
Katanahun More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was twelve years old. The book was rather dark, but I thought that was a plus. I fell in love with all of the characters, and connected to all of them. Easton Ellis can capture emotion, and come up with three beautiful and out-of-the-ordinary characters that are easy to see yourself in. After reading, I saw relationships from a different perspective, and I still do. Buy this book now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This hilariously realistic story is about as dark as they get, but in this depressive college dating story you find a tapestry of interesting characters leading entertaining lives and telling intertwining stories. In this story, the people who want to hook up with each other rarely do, and when they do it isn't usually what they thought it would be. Very few other romance stories actually leave you feeling that it is a believable story. This one people can relate to. Another good one is Christmas at Sibyl's. A friend bought it for me and it's now one of my favorite Christmas stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vrry weird
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This novel is more interesting in how it plays with form and style than it is in its presentation of the narrative. It begins and ends in the middle of a sentence and it is technically just one chapter. The novel fkows from voice to voice as you get more of a glimpse into the lives of the rich and unhappy than an actual story. I enjoyed the experience, but I owe a big thanks to Audible for getting me to finish this one. The characters lost most of my interest around page 100, but a free 30 day trial to audible solved that. The voice acting on their audio book is superb and pulled me through to the end.
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