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Glamorama

by Bret Easton Ellis

ISBN 0375404120 / 9780375404122 / 0-375-40412-0
Publisher Knopf
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Glamorama is a satirical mass-murder opus more ambitious than Bret Easton Ellis's 1990 American Psycho. It starts as a spritz-of-consciousness romp about kid-club entrepreneur Victor Ward, "the It boy of the moment," an actor-model up for Flatliners II. Ellis has perfect pitch for glam-speak, and he gives nightlife the fizz, pace, and shimmer it lacks in drab reality. Anyone could cite the right celeb names and tunes, but like a rock-polishing machine, his prose gives literary sheen to fame-chasing air-kissers. He's coldly funny: when Victor's girl tries to argue him out of a breakup, she angrily snorts six bumps of coke, stops, mutters, "Wrong vial," snorts four corrective doses from whatever she has in her other fist, then objects to a rival at the party wearing the same dress she's wearing.

You had to be there; Ellis makes you feel you are. But such satire is a very smart bomb targeting a very large barn. Models' status anxiety doesn't merit Ellis's Tom Wolfe-esque expertise. Glamorama gets better when Victor gets drafted into a mysterious group of model-terrorists who bomb 747s and the Ritz in Paris, wearing Kevlar-lined Armani suits. Oh, they still behave like shallow snobs, pronouncing "cool" as if it had 12 o's. But now when somebody swills Cristal, it's apt to be poisoned, to horrific effect, which Ellis expertly, affectlessly describes. His enfant-terrible debut, Less Than Zero, aped Joan Didion. Now Ellis has grown into a lesser Don DeLillo--and that's high praise. --Tim Appelo [via]