26 November 2012

Influences: Bret Easton Ellis

Perhaps I have fallen into that reader’s trap by thinking I have a special understanding of a writer that no one else could appreciate. Whenever I mention I find Ellis’ books dryly humorous and his writing to be dark, social satire I often get blank stares. I’m also sure that for other readers this would seem a very obvious thing to say.

Ellis has a fantastic voice and the sort of existential, coming-of-age anxieties expressed in Less than Zero makes it for the 80s what The Catcher In the Rye was for the 50s. Lunar Park I enjoyed particularly because it is a kind of supernatural/crime story that delves into recurring narcissistic behaviour handed down from father to son. His craft is undeniable and his ability to transport you, rapidly, through a series of emotional responses in a coolly unaffected way is compelling. If I could absorb even some of his poetic metre I would be a very happy writer indeed.