Quotation of the Week

Bret Easton Ellis on the experience of bourgeois parenting, from page 43 of his marvellous new novel Lunar Park (which I am currently reading, and which I will discuss at greater length once I am done):

Well, being married’s okay — but the dad thing’s a little tougher… ‘Daddy, can I have some juice?’ ‘How about some water, honey?’ ‘Daddy?’ ‘Yes?’ ‘Can I have some juice?’ ‘How about some water instead, honey?’ ‘Daddy, can I have some juice?’ ‘Okay, honey, you want some juice?’ ‘No, its okay, I’ll just have some water.’ It’s like some fucking Beckett play that we’re rehearsing constantly.

2 Responses to “Quotation of the Week”

  1. Dan Smith says:

    I’ve been doing my best to track reviews of Lunar Park, which, thus far, have been overwhelmingly negative. One exception was Meghan O’Rourke, from Slate. It’s worth a look.


  2. Marco Abel says:

    Historically, Ellis has always received terrible reviews. Many derided even his first book, Less Than Zero, though it obviously turned him into the “It boy” (to use a phrase from Ellis’s Glamorama) of the literary scene in the mid 1980s. But Rules of Attraction was taken by many (who clearly envied his superstar status) as an opportunity to mow him down; American Psycho caused some to issue death threats against him and received overwhelmingly bad, I mean BAD, reviews (with most reviewers denying Ellis any talent whatsoever); The Informers fared little better (with most reviewers taking the opportunity to rehash and continue the attack on AP); Glamorama was seen as little more than an endless list of brand names (but see Steven’s own essay on the book for a great take on it). LP’s generally negative reception is thus not surprising, though I have to say that it actually does not strike me nearly as negative as that of his previous books. I mean, even AO Scott has a few positive things to say in the NYT, and the Village Voice’s review actually suggests, “Sentence for sentence Lunar Park has some of Ellis’s best writing.” Having read all of Ellis’s work and written on AP, I’m inclined to concur with that view: I think it’s a great book, one of the great “meta-novels,” for lack of a better term. The first chapter alone is worth the money, as far as I’m concerned, and I think the narrative mutation, turning some sort of meta-autobiographical “memoir” into a paranoia-horror tale works exceedingly well. Predictably, of course, most reviewers zoom in on the question of the real author’s presence in the novel (what, if any but the most obvious facts of the roman a clef, is actually true?), which strikes me as totally beside the point. In fact, what’s great is precisely how Ellis’s gradually intensifies the factually true information, allowing it to morph from what we all know to be true, to something that could be true (but would need some research) to such far out statements that, oddly, have affectively some purchase on “reality” if we were willing to go along with the “possibly true” but are clearly so far off the charts that they are extremely funny takes on the public’s obsession with BEE, celebrity author. Anyway, I’m looking forward to Steven’s post on the novel.

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