Bret Easton Ellis delivers a riveting, tour-de-force sequel to Less Than Zero, one of the most singular novels of the last thirty years. Returning. BOOK REVIEW Volume 1, Number 1 Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms ( London: Picador, ), ISBN Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero. Imperial Bedrooms (Less Than Zero Sequel). Home · Imperial Bedrooms (Less Than Zero Sequel) Author: Bret Easton Ellis. 31 downloads Views KB.
|Language:||English, Spanish, German|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Register to download]|
Request PDF | The paper argues that Imperial bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis's latest novel to date engages, among other things, with the author's own fiction on . Request PDF on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , P. Freese and others published Life isn't a script: Bret Easton Ellis' imperial bedrooms. Imperial Bedrooms is a novel by American author Bret Easton Ellis. Released on June 15, Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
Whilst Less Than Zero was a por- trayal of lost youth, Imperial Bedrooms reveals how the same characters, despite the onset of time, have developed very little in the intervening twenty years and are now fully in the grip of the horror that emerged during the pages of the previous novel. Such a problem besets Imperial Bedrooms.
Whilst Imperial Bedrooms can be appreciated independently of the previous work, it is perhaps best read in context with the earlier novel. As a novel in its own right, it is perhaps best approached as a thriller. What matters is the unravelling of the mystery, and what that movement reveals about both Clay and the world around him.
This teleological lack proves frus- trating to Clay, and potentially a reader looking to discover a satisfying meaning himself in the text. On arrival in LA Clay moves into a lavish apartment that was designed but never occupied by a now-deceased party-loving twenty-something, evocative of his younger self in Less Than Zero, whose ghostly presence haunts his dreams.
As he rediscovers the city of his youth, he soon be- comes aware he is being followed; threatening text messages and phone calls accompany the realization that a car parked outside his home appears to be silently watching him. This relationship, perhaps inevi- tably, reveals itself to be more complex than it first appears.
Clay begins to comprehend the extent to which he is inadvertently at the centre of power struggle involving Rip and Julian Wells, both of whom are also sexually linked to Rain. The Hollywood represented in Imperial Bedrooms is a loveless world where sex is concerned with power and exploitation, a world where the transgression of mainstream morality is as tolerated, and as expected, as in the films it produces.
Casual drug use is prevalent. Sex is reduced to a transaction. In this way, Clay is, however, ultimately unable to complete the transaction since he lacks enough power, having just a minor production credit himself on the film. Unlike in Less Than Zero, where he remains a disinterested observer, Clay is in deep. The meaning of the crossed line, an important metaphor of the literature of transgression, is here ambiguous. Is he infringing the line of sexual difference?
Is it a macho sporting metaphor for entering the field of play? Although Clay struggles to articulate it, he appears to have become emotionally involved with Rain Turner. The full implications of this journey, however, might not be fully appreciated by a reader approaching Imperial Bedrooms without the con- text provided by a reading of Less Than Zero.
He does, however, feel a kind of macabre compulsion towards the horror of the world around him. It is this compulsion to see the worst that marks Less Than Zero. Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of Imperial Bedrooms, that only a reader of the former novel will be able to appreciate, is how it portrays how Clay has crossed the line from observer to protagonist, active participant in the horrors of the world around him.
This movement over the line, from the fringes of horror to its very centre, is at the very heart of the relationship between Less Than Zero and Imperial Bedrooms. In the opening pages the reader learns that Less Than Zero was written not by the Clay of Imperial Bedrooms, but a mys- terious, nameless figure on the periphery of the book, similar to him but fundamentally not him.
The Clay of Imperial Bedrooms, is thus distanced from the Clay of Less Than Zero; the reader is encouraged to receive this testimony as more authentic, which ultimately makes his involvement more troubling.
Clay attempts to romance Rain Turner, a gorgeous young woman auditioning for a role in his new film, leading her on with the promise of being cast, all the while knowing she is too old for the part. His narration reveals he has done this with a number of men and women in the past, and yet often comes out of the relationship hurt and damaged himself. Over the course of their relationship, he is stalked by unknown persons driving a Jeep and is frequently reminded by various individuals of the grisly murder of a young producer whom he knew.
As the novel progresses, Clay learns that Rip also had a fling with Rain and is now obsessed with her. When Clay discovers that Julian is currently Rain's boyfriend, he conspires with Rip to hand Julian over to him. When Julian is then found murdered, Rain confronts Clay about his role in the affair and is raped by him in response.
He later receives a video of Julian's murder from Rip which has been overdubbed with an angry voicemail from Clay as a means to implicate him in the crime. The novel then depicts sequences of the savage sexual and physical abuse of a beautiful young girl and young boy, perpetrated by Clay. Clay experiences no feelings of remorse or guilt for this, or for exploiting and raping Rain.
In the last scenes, it is strongly implied that Blair has been hiring people to follow Clay. In return for his giving her what she wants, she offers to provide Clay with a false alibi that will prevent the police from arresting him as an accomplice to Julian's murder.
Much critical attention has been given to the development of the characters from the original book, 25 years on. One review opined that "[Ellis'] characters are incapable of growth.
They cannot credibly find Jesus or even see a skilled psychologist or take the right medication to fend off despair.
They are bound to be American psychos. On the subject of the film, Clay describes that "the parents who ran the studio would[n't] ever expose their children in the same black light the book did".
To Bill Eichenberger, this shows how "the children have become the parents, writing scripts and producing movies, still imprisoned by Hollywood's youth and drug cultures — but now looking at things from the outside in. Clay, the protagonist of Less Than Zero , "once a paralyzed observer, is now a more active character and has grown to be a narcissist ". For Ellis, this became "an exploration of intense narcissism.
The novel is written in the first-person , from Clay's perspective. Clay, who "felt betrayed by Less Than Zero ", uses Imperial Bedrooms to make a stand or a case for himself, though ultimately "reveals himself to be far worse than the author of Less Than Zero ever began to hint at. Clay is a cipher, an empty shell who is only able to approximate interactions and experiences through acts of sadism and exploitation.
Ellis remarks that he finds the developments in Clay "so exciting". The novel is Ellis ' "deeply pessimistic presentation of human nature as assailable Blair and Trent Burroughs share a loveless marriage.
The Oregonian notes "Although Blair and Trent have children, the children are never described and hardly mentioned; their absence is "even more unsettling than the absence of parents in a story about teenagers, underlining the endlessly narcissistic nature of the characters' world.
He speculates whether "the artist looking back" becomes a destructive force. He hadn't planned to kill off the character, just finding that while writing "it felt right". Vice describes him, hyperbolically, as "like the supervillain of these two books". Uncertainties about the character's "specifics" originate in Clay, who "doesn't really want to know, which makes it kind of scarier".
Writing for The Observer , Alison Kelly of the University of Oxford observed the novel's philosophical qualities, and opined that its " thriller -style hints and foreshadowings She further argues that the novel's motif of facial recognitions amounts to the message that people should be read "at face value", and that furthermore, past action is the greatest indicator of future behaviour, leaving no room for "change, growth, [or] self-reinvention".
In terms of stylistic literary changes, Ellis also displays more fondness for the Ruskinian pathetic fallacy than in previous works. Ellis feels that the technique itself gives the reader a unique kind of insight into the characters, and comments that "numbness is a feeling too. Emotionality isn't the only feeling there is. Imperial Bedrooms opens with an acknowledgement from Clay, the main character, that both the Less Than Zero novel and its film adaption are actual representational works within the narrative of his life: It was labeled fiction but only a few details had been altered and our names weren't changed and there was nothing in it that hadn't happened.
Even though Ellis never names himself explicitly in the book, he conceded to Lawson that one can "guess [Bret Easton Ellis] is who the Clay of Imperial Bedrooms is referring to. Ellis himself raised the "sequel" question, commenting " I don't think it is [a sequel]. Well, I mean, it is and it isn't. It's narrated by him, sure.
But I guess I could maybe have switched the names around and it could stand alone. Asked about the motif and "casual approach to" bisexual characters in his novels, continued in Imperial Bedrooms , Ellis stated he "really [didn't] know", and that he wished he could provide "an answer — depicting [him] as extremely conscious of those choices". He believes it to be an "interesting aspect of [his] work".
Details notes how Ellis' own sexuality, frequently described as bisexual, has been notoriously hard to pin down. He reiterates to Vice that he is not Clay. Ellis says that other contemporary authors naming Michael Chabon , Jonathan Franzen , Jonathan Lethem as examples don't get asked if their novels are autobiographical. Ellis feels that the autobiographical truths of his novels lie in their writing processes, which to him are like emotional "exorcisms".
While Clay is clearly parodically working on the film adaptation of The Informers , he is at the same time fully aware that he has been a character in Less Than Zero , and that ostensibly, Ellis is 'the author' whom Clay knew.
However, there are clear differences to the characters, as well. For example, Ellis had to omit lines from the book he felt Clay would never have thought of, on subjects he would never have noticed. Ellis himself feels he is adapting to middle-age very well; Clay, however, isn't. Imperial Bedrooms also breaches several new territories. When compared to Less Than Zero , its "huge shift" is a technological one. The novel picks up on many aspects of the early 21st-century culture, such as Internet viral videos which depict executions.
The novel reflects how technology changes the nature of interpersonal relationships. Additionally, Clay is text -stalked throughout the book; Ellis himself had been "text-stalked" before in real life.
Ellis feels this was an unconscious exploration of the dynamics brought on by the new technology. Ellis is showing us what has changed in 25 years—not just in his characters or in Hollywood but in America and maybe the world. Read An Excerpt. Literary Fiction Noir Mysteries Category: Literary Fiction Noir Mysteries Audiobooks. Paperback —. download the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. Add to Cart.
Also in Vintage Contemporaries. Also by Bret Easton Ellis. See all books by Bret Easton Ellis. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History.