StephenWright, November 27, 2007 (view all comments by StephenWright)
Bret Easton Ellis knows he is an egotistical drug abuser, whose dysfunctional relationship with his now deceased abusive father still leaves him unable to hook up with his own son. His former lover, movie star Jayne Dennis offers him redemption through marriage and jointly raising their eleven years old son Robby, whom Bret barely knows. He agrees and the trio along with Jayne's daughter Sarah sired by another freak settle in the New York suburbs while he works on his next porno shocker, Teenage Pussy.
Bret cannot cope with the three people he shares a home with especially his distant non-communicative son. He returns to his drug and alcoholic past while chasing college student Aimee. That is until the weirdness begins starting with Terby the mechanical bird suddenly like Chucky coming alive ready to harm all. Neighbor boys vanish, e-mail from his dad's ashes arrive, and gruesome murders from out of his novel AMERICAN PSYCHO haunt the town as much as the spirit haunting Ellis's house demands he writes the sobering paranoid truth; hence this novel.
This novel is best for those readers who know Bret Easton Ellis's writing career and "brat pack" days of LESS THAN ZERO in which the author and his cronies symbolize the acceptable excesses of the Reagan Era. The story line lampoons the writer as he stars in an autobiographical fiction in which uses real people that he knew and events to tell his self parody that critiques and criticizes his celebrity status now that he no longer can claim the folly of youthful self indulgence. Terrific biographical fiction just not for everyone as the knowing the "Brat Pack" is a great part of the fun.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (10 of 19 readers found this comment helpful)
Cheryl Klein, September 4, 2007 (view all comments by Cheryl Klein)
I haven't read any of Bret Easton Ellis' books, but somehow reading a (very) fictionalized account of his life as a best-selling author, ace drug addict, and crappy husband and father was thoroughly compelling. He merges postmodernism and sincerity--and character driven lit fic and horror--without looking like he's trying too hard.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (10 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
kalebsmom, September 14, 2006 (view all comments by kalebsmom)
I loved it! I was chilling and intense. It seemed so real in a surreal way. I couldn't put it down because I couldn't wait to see what would happen next in his downward sporal towards complete loss.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (17 of 35 readers found this comment helpful)
Alfred A. Knopf -
Remarkable in scope and plot, Lunar Park is an almost masochistic metafiction in which the author plays himself as a suburban dad paying gruesome penance for being Bret Easton Ellis. Always controversial, as much loved as despised, Ellis has matured here and the result is gothic and sublime.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Having ridden to fame as the laureate of Reagan-era excesses, Ellis serves up a self-eviscerating apologia for all the awful things (wanton drug use, reckless promiscuity, serial murder) he worked so hard to glamorize. Narrated faux memoir style by a character named Bret Easton Ellis, author of bestsellers, L.A. native, friend to Jay McInerney, the book seeks to make obvious its autobiographical elements without actually remaining true to the facts. In the novel, Ellis marries B-list actress Jayne Dennis (with whom he'd fathered a child years earlier), moves to the New York City suburbs and begins working on his latest neo-porn shocker, Teenage Pussy, when things start to go awry. His house becomes possessed by strange, threatening spirits intent on attacking his family and transforming their home into the pink stucco green shag disaster of Ellis's childhood; a well-read stalker begins acting out, victim by victim, the plot of American Psycho; and the town becomes enthralled by a string of child abductions (oddly, only the boys are disappearing) that may or may not be the work of Ellis's son. This is a peculiar novel, gothic in tone and supernatural in conceit, whose energy is built from its almost tabloidlike connection to real life. As a spirit haunting Ellis's house tells him, 'I want you to reflect on your life. I want you to be aware of all the terrible things you have done. I want you to face the disaster that is Bret Easton Ellis.' Ultimately, though, the book reads less like a roman clef than as a bizarre type of celebrity penance. The closest contemporary comparison is, perhaps, the work of Philip Roth, who went for such thinly veiled self-criticism earlier in his career, but Roth's writing succeeded on its own merits, whereas Lunar Park begs a knowledge of Ellis's celebrity and the casual misanthropy his books espoused. Yet for those familiar with Ellis's reputation, the book is mesmerizing, easily his best since Less than Zero. Maybe for the first time, Ellis acknowledges that fiction has a truth all its own and consequences all too real. It is his demons who destroy his home, break up his family and scuttle his best chance at happiness and sobriety. As a novel by anyone else, Lunar Park would be hokum, but in context, it is a fascinating look at a once controversial celebrity as a middle-aged man. Agent, Amanda Urban." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Gary Shteyngart, Esquire,
"The descriptions of wealthy children are top-shelf Ellis, the ubiquitous celebrity lists of his previous novels replaced by Zoloft-stocked medicine cabinets. But then, for some reason, a ghost story is grafted onto the proceedings....Ellis wants this novel to be about Fathers and Sons. But a 21st-century Turgenev he's not. What we really want is more Teenage Pussy." (read the entire Esquire review)
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"[H]is fifth and most enjoyable novel....[A]s fascinating as a car wreck and...frequently very funny....Even his harshest critics may now have to acknowledge that this versatile, resourceful writer has formidable skills."
by Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly,
"Whether or not Bret Easton Ellis is 'doing' Stephen King...doesn't matter, because by the end, all the masks, imitations, and pharmacological shopping lists have been set aside....Here is a book that progresses from darkness and banality to light and epiphany with surprising strength and sureness."
by Library Journal,
"Ellis delivers for his fans and for the new guard of Palahniuk readers who will appreciate his straightforward prose and twisting plot lines. He even seems to have matured — or perhaps he is simply acknowledging that his best subject has always been himself."
by Portland Oregonian,
"Ellis has managed to weave a seamless whole out of a collection of contradictions....He fuses the black humor, the self-mockery and the raw intensity of terror into a compelling emotional roller-coaster ride that seems to reflect a longing for the bonds of family and a desire to take on adult responsibility."
"The sense of creeping dread is excellent, and the beasts confronted by the Ellis character are genuinely frightening, but they don't lend any meaningful urgency to his psychological journey. It's as if he used an ax to kill off his ax murderer."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Lunar Park is easily the most readable of Ellis' books: less name-dropping, more plot. Also good is a sustained awareness on the part of Ellis-the-character that he is failing pathetically at his own redemption."
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"The deftness with which Ellis handles an entertaining and suspenseful plot...is impressive. Lunar Park is not only enjoyable and consuming but insightful and mirrors...the psyche of a nation forced to question itself and the world it creates."
by Washington Post,
"Ellis...evokes with nightmarish clarity a certain kind of upper-middle-class life, where all the children are Ritalin-dependent and even the family golden retriever is on Prozac. These scenes...suggest the chilly horror of J.G. Ballard's best work."
by Vanity Fair,
"By combining equal parts John Cheever and Stephen King, and infusing the novel with his own, distinct brand of social satire — in this case upscale, uptight white angst and modern child rearing (Meds! Meds! Meds!) — Ellis has created a potent and intoxicating cocktail, one that affords us visions without the ugly hangover."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"[B]reezily written and sometimes wickedly funny, but Ellis seems so eager to shock and entertain that he can't choose a single, elegant ghoul...to make his case. Like his early work, Lunar Park is a victim of sophomoric overkill. (Grade: B)"
by New York Times,
"The problem with this novel is not that it is a fast, lurching ride to nowhere. Of course it is; it's a Bret Easton Ellis novel. The problem is that it does not have the honesty to admit that it wants to be more."
From the author of Less Than Zero comes a work that confounds one expectation after another, passing through comedy and mounting psychological and supernatural horror toward an astonishing resolution. Lunar Park is a novel about love and loss, fathers and sons, in what is surely the most original and moving novel of an extraordinary career.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.