Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Guardian article on Less Than Zero (by Bret Easton Ellis)

In Less Than Zero (Bret Easton Ellis)
I saw the above as a link on Bret Easton Ellis's Facebook page. Holloway writes:

Less Than Zero is as slippery as the characters that haunt it. It draws us in only and precisely to the extent that we share its inability to care about anyone within its pages. We both identify with Clay's disgust and find ourselves disgusted by him in turn. But maybe his slow realisation is one of self-loathing? No, there is nothing noble, no sense of discovery, about Clay's repulsion. It is purely the product of an existential laziness; an accumulation of holographic detritus that results from not being bothered to dial out. As the book closes, images play over and over in his head of the thoughtless, causeless, affectless brutality he has left behind. Only they aren't even real images, they're the words of a song playing on the radio, an echo of a world that itself is a shabby echo of reality. And while Clay slips away into who knows what (only, of course, thanks to the recent Imperial Bedrooms, we do know what) with those echoes playing like the last tracking glitches slowly tuning themselves out of his head, we know that both he and Los Angeles remain fundamentally the same.
 Only for us it's slightly different. Our "images so violent and malicious that they seemed to be [our] only point of reference" don't fade. They are a cold condensation running down the inside of our skull. The frictionless chill of Clay's world does touch us, planting a small seed of winter inside us that refuses to leave. Because Less Than Zero is not about Los Angeles, or the 80s, or drugs, or hipsters. It is fundamentally true. It's every time we turn on the news. It's every time we pass splintered glass on the road. It's every time we walk down the street with our headphones on. It's every time we close our eyes and go to sleep leaving the world behind. Maybe that's Less Than Zero's redeeming feature. As the shard of ice, the frozen mirror that embeds itself inside us and pricks our conscience with our blank reflection at each of these moments, maybe it is a bud of hope, of change, of spring. But I can't help thinking, I hope it isn't.
"Disappear here."
"This is not an exit."

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