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Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.

American Psycho

American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis This is a strange book. I suppose that I see it as a commentary on the emptiness and pathological state of society reflected in the psychopathic murdering of the main character. In that case it is a kind of brutal satire of materialism and shallowness. It seems that some people think that the book is misogynist. That seems to me a primitive confusion of the beliefs of the main character with what the book is actually about.

The main criticism I am of the book is that it is far too long. There are, for instance, so many restaurant scenes, and so many lists of brand names that it becomes repetitive. For instance, there is a scene where the main characters gives a critical review of the band Genesis. There are then two more chapters where Ellis does the same thing with both Whitney Huston and Huey Lewis and the News. Those other chapters are pretty much redundant. Even the chapters themselves are a little bludgeoning and perhaps too overt in their demonstration of the characters shallow taste.

The fact that the book is written in the first person is also a problem. With Martin Amis' Money the character is too reflective for his shallowness. This book suffers from a similar problem, and I think that it is just a mistake to try to write serious literature from a first person perspective where the main character is seriously shallow.

Having said this the book is very well written and highly readable, but it would have been better as a novella than as a full blown novel, I should also mention that the book is, as you might expect, extremely violent.