Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review: "Glamorama" by Bret Easton Ellis

For the first time rereading a book at the end of the year, my feelings on a book have not changed. That book, Bret Easton Ellis’ most forgotten novel (but not most underrated), Glamorama, has neither aged poorly or positively in the time that I have read it, I just feel now that I can talk about it more eloquently than I did when I first read it back in 2010 (I think). A good description of this book is that it is a beautiful mess. There are parts of it that I really enjoyed, parts where Ellis’ skill at creating blurry realities brought on by chaos, excess and detachment award the reader with some entertaining, and sometimes brilliant renderings of violence and sadness. But the book is still a mess. The paperback version which I read clocks in at 546 pages, which is simply too long for a book like this; where characters enter and exit the story rapidly with very little distinguishing features of characteristics, and the whirlwind narrative constantly threatens to leave you behind. The book can be divided into two sections and focuses on male model and aspiring actor Victor Ward. In the first section, he is struggling to open a club in the Bowery section of New York, he is sleeping with two models and he is trying to negotiate a deal to star in a sequel to Flatliners. The second section sees him whisked away to Europe where he is forced into a terrorist group of other pretty people who store bombs in high-end luxury bags and videotape the tortures of diplomatic relatives. I found it impossible to follow everything, and it doesn’t help when the main character is kind of a passive idiot who only comes alive during a few hilariously overwritten sex scenes. But some details, like Victor’s inability during some of the more violent sequences to distinguish between real violence and movie violence and the book’s really bizarre ending, which work out really well. It’s not for everyone, and it certainly isn’t his best book, but this bloody look at the elite, a kind of Zoolander drenched in gore, is still fascinating to me.

Rating: 4/5

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