View Poll Results: Less Than Zero : Final Verdict

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  • * Waste of time. Wouldn't recommend.

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  • ** Didn't like it much.

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  • **** It is a good book.

    5 100.00%
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Thread: March '14 / Postmodernism Reading: Less Than Zero by B.E. Ellis

  1. #1
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    March '14 / Postmodernism Reading: Less Than Zero by B.E. Ellis

    ~

    In March, we will be reading Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.

    Please share your thoughts and comments in this thread.

    ~
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  2. #2
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I loved American Psycho so I was looking forward to reading another book by this author. One of the things which I really enjoy about Ellis' writing is dark satire and the way in which he so accurately is able to peg the generation/culture of which he is writing about.

    It is both sad and laugh out loud funny how so completely LA this book really is. And though the author does exaggerate certain things, the sad and ridiculous thing is that the exaggeration really are not exaggerated by that much.

    I had to laugh out loud during the scene when Clay attended the first part with Blair shortly after his returning to LA because my sister went to USC and my Brother-in-Law went to UCLA. And though my sister did pay her way through school with college loans, it is true it really is the school for spoiled rich kids, most of my sisters classmates where there on a free ride because their parents where paying their way for them.

    And in one of my first visits to my sister while she was down in LA it was shortly after she graduated and I attended a party with her that was a film student party with a bunch of USC grads, it is true, most of them where all blond and tan.

    In a lot of ways this book really reminds me of a friend of mine who also lives in the LA area, and though he isn't as bad as the characters in the book (he isn't a drug addict) but still there are some similarities, that a lot feels "familiar" to me reading this book because I know that whole culture even though I am not actually a part of it.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  3. #3
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    One thing which confuses me is that at the beginning of the book it says that Clay is 18 I think it is, but he keeps buying alcohol at bars. I know there was a reference to another character having a fake ID, so I we just supposed to assume that Clay is using a fake ID?

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I picked this book up in HMV for £2.99 today so I'll give it a whirl. I realise I'm a bit late.

  5. #5
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    Hey, Paul, I'll read too!!
    Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda


  6. #6
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Just finished reading this. I couldn't put it down. Even though I found some of the scenes amusing and enjoyed their satirical nature, I was strongly disturbed by some others.

    I cannot help but wonder if this book is the Catcher in the Rye of our generation.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  7. #7
    Super papayahed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse View Post
    One thing which confuses me is that at the beginning of the book it says that Clay is 18 I think it is, but he keeps buying alcohol at bars. I know there was a reference to another character having a fake ID, so I we just supposed to assume that Clay is using a fake ID?
    Definitely a fake ID.

    Just finished reading this. I couldn't put it down. Even though I found some of the scenes amusing and enjoyed their satirical nature, I was strongly disturbed by some others.

    I cannot help but wonder if this book is the Catcher in the Rye of our generation.
    I couldn't put it down either. I think it was the tone of the narrative.
    Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda


  8. #8
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    "People are afraid to merge in L.A."

    I think that statement is really what this whole book is about. It is a collection of individuals that are so wrapped up in themselves, self, so absorbed in their own problems, and life, that they are afraid and unable to make any serious meaningful connections to anyone else. They are like flotsam and jetsam, just being swept along down life's current, and sometimes they bump into each other, and most the time they are completely oblivious when they do brush up against another. They don't know how to grab on to another and pull each other out of the current.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
    Super papayahed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse View Post
    "People are afraid to merge in L.A."

    I think that statement is really what this whole book is about. It is a collection of individuals that are so wrapped up in themselves, self, so absorbed in their own problems, and life, that they are afraid and unable to make any serious meaningful connections to anyone else. They are like flotsam and jetsam, just being swept along down life's current, and sometimes they bump into each other, and most the time they are completely oblivious when they do brush up against another. They don't know how to grab on to another and pull each other out of the current.
    That makes sense. The thing I found most odd was the dettachement and ambivalence Clay had towards everbody, especially Julian.
    Do, or do not. There is no try. - Yoda


  10. #10
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papayahed View Post
    That makes sense. The thing I found most odd was the dettachement and ambivalence Clay had towards everbody, especially Julian.
    I think it is also interesting how many times throughout the story the characters are physically unable to connect with each other. There are many times when one character is looking for another character but cannot find them, and no one else seems to know where they are, so they are not able to make contact.

    I think this also demonstrates the inability of the characters to make connections with each other, how they often spend so much time just wandering around unable to find one another.

    And when they do find each other it seems they don't say what they really mean what they are really thinking and feeling.

    A bit like the whole Clay/Blair thing, if they are together, or not together, what they truly feel for one another.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  11. #11
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Sorry - I was late finishing this book.

    The whole episode where Clay and Blair are in the house by the sea is a classic, relationship forming episode. It's almost a cliche with the waves rolling in and a loving couple strolling the beach. All this seems to happen but it is told in such a remote way.

  12. #12
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments above, and Ellis' characterisation is consistent with his telling of the story - the people are described in terms of their tans, t shirts or hairstyles. I wonder if this way of characterising people is only sustainable in a short novel? I think it achieves its purpose in conveying the isolation of everyone - or their non-merging - but could it sustain a longer novel?

    Is this an aspect of Easton's style in other books or is it a technique he just employs in this one?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    I agree with the comments above, and Ellis' characterisation is consistent with his telling of the story - the people are described in terms of their tans, t shirts or hairstyles. I wonder if this way of characterising people is only sustainable in a short novel? I think it achieves its purpose in conveying the isolation of everyone - or their non-merging - but could it sustain a longer novel?

    Is this an aspect of Easton's style in other books or is it a technique he just employs in this one?
    American Psycho is written very similarly to this book and does use similar techniques in its describing of people and being very surface level/shallow, a lot of the people in American Psycho are described in terms of how they are dressed. It has that same feel of dealing with the entitled but isolated rich who never really connect with each other or see deeper into a person than their exterior.

    In fact my nick name for Less Than Zero was American Psycho Jr. because I can easily see the characters in Less Than Zero growing up to become the people in American Psycho.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  14. #14
    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I've seen the film and it makes sense to refer ti Less than as junior.

    It does seem to be a limited style though. It makes its point but is it diminished each time it's made?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    I've seen the film and it makes sense to refer ti Less than as junior.

    It does seem to be a limited style though. It makes its point but is it diminished each time it's made?
    I thought the style worked well in both Less Than and American Psycho, but but if he uses this style consistently I can see how by the third or fourth book it might feel a bit diminished.

    So far I have only read the two books by him.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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