Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bret Easton Ellis Quoted

Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. He was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He is a self-proclaimed "moralist," although he is one of his generation's most controversial authors because of his excessively violent and sexually bizarre content. Although influenced by French literary giants like Flaubert and Balzac, Ellis' value as a novelist is more social than aesthetic, depicting the grotesque materialism, status obsession, and social transgression of affluent American youth in the 1980's. also employs their technique of linking novels with common, recurring characters. (wiki page)


He was born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles and raised in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, the son of Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and Dale Ellis, a homemaker. His parents divorced in 1982. He was educated at The Buckley School, where he did not distinguish himself; then he took a music-based course at Bennington College in Vermont, which is thinly disguised as Camden Arts College in his novel The Rules of Attraction and his other books. He was a part-time musician in 1980s bands such as The Parents before his first book was published. Less Than Zero, a tale of disaffected, rich teenagers of Los Angeles, was praised by critics and sold well (50,000 copies in its first year). He moved to New York City in 1987 for the publication of his second novel.

The Rules of Attraction followed a group of sexually promiscuous college students, and sold fairly well, though Ellis admits he felt he had "fallen off", after the novel failed to match the success of his debut effort.

His most controversial work, the graphically violent novel American Psycho, was intended to be published by Simon & Schuster, but they withdrew after external protests from groups such as the NOW and many others due to the misogynistic nature of the book. The novel was later published by Vintage. Some consider this novel, whose protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is both a cartoonishly materialistic yuppie and a serial killer, to be an example of transgressive art. American Psycho has achieved considerable cult status.

His collection of short stories, The Informers, contains vignettes of wayward Los Angeles characters ranging from rock stars to vampires.

The novel Glamorama is set in the world of high fashion, following a male model who becomes entangled in a bizarre terrorist organization comprised entirely of other models. The book plays with themes of media, celebrity, and political violence, and like its predecessor American Psycho it uses surrealism to convey a sense of postmodern dread.

His most recent novel is Lunar Park, which uses the form of a celebrity memoir to tell a ghost story about the novelist "Bret Easton Ellis" and his chilling experiences in the apparently-haunted home he shares with his wife and son. In keeping with his usual style, Ellis mixes absurd comedy with a bleak and violent vision.

The Quotes


  • "I read it for the first time in about 20 years this year–-recently. It wasn't so bad. I get it. I get fan mail now from people who weren't really born yet when the book came out. I don't think it's a perfect book by any means, but it's valid. I get where it comes from. I get what it is. I know that sounds so ambiguous. It's sort of out of my hands and it has its reputation so what can you do about it? There's a lot of it that I wish was slightly more elegantly written. Overall, I was pretty shocked. It was pretty good writing for someone who was 19. I was pretty surprised by the level of writing."
- On Less Than Zero

  • "It might be my favorite book of mine. It was a very exciting time in my life. I was writing that book while I was at college. Sort of like the best of times, the worst of times. There was a lot of elation, there was a lot of despair. It was just a really fun book to write. I loved mimicking all the different voices. The stream of conscious does get a little out of hand. I kind of like that about the book. It's kind of all over the place. It's casual. It's scruffy. That's the one book of mine that I have a very, very soft spot for."
- On The Rules of Attraction

  • "I reread that book in the summer of '03. . . . And I hadn't looked at that book either since '91. And I was dreading it. I thought it was going to be a really terrible novel. Everything everyone had ever said about it was going to be true. . . . And I started reading it... and I was surprised. It was good. It was fun. It was not nearly as pretentious as I remember I wanted it to be when I was writing it. Not nearly as weighted down with the importance that I thought I was investing it with. I found it really fast-moving. I found it really funny. And I liked it a lot. The violence was... it made my toes curl. I really freaked out. I couldn't believe how violent it was. It was truly upsetting. I had to steel myself to reread those passages."
- On American Psycho
  • "It's definitely the book that I can tell—I don't know if other people can tell but I can tell as a writer–-is probably the most divisive that I've written. It has an equal number of detractors as it does fans. It doesn't really hold true with the other books. It was the one that took the longest to write, and the one that seemed the most important at the time. It's an unwieldy book... I like it."
- On Glamorama

  • “I like the idea of a writer being haunted by his own creation, especially if the writer resents the way the character defines him.”

  • "Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is a crock. Some people truly do not need to be here."

  • "Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire - meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. "

  • “I feel like I'm not smart enough to answer the questions I'm asked.”

  • “I convinced myself I hadn't seen anything, ... I had done this many times before ... I was adept at erasing reality.”

  • “You simply didn't have to pay as much attention to things. The precise pose was no longer required.”

  • “I'm not a big believer in disciplined writers. What does discipline mean? The writer who forces himself to sit down and write for seven hours every day might be wasting those seven hours if he's not in the mood and doesn't feel the juice. I don't think that discipline equals creativity.”

  • “Mailer is a genius. He's the one I most connect with in terms of fiction — his range is so wide. That's the sort of boldness I aspire to.”

  • “It should have been written already,”

  • “We were all such Didion junkies in college that might still be the highlight of my career.”

  • “I hadn't published a book in six years so I didn't know what to expect. It has been going very well. They've all been packed.”

  • “Fun is what reading a book should be. I had fun writing it. I wanted a reader to be gripped but it shouldn't be a heavy experience.”

  • “As a writer you slant all evidence in favor of the conclusions you want to produce, and you rarely tilt in favor of the truth.”

  • “[Stepping out from the shadow of Psycho , and such other iconic works as Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction , has been difficult for Ellis.] I had spent 10 years working on an outline about a writer very much like myself, ... He was a fictional writer who had written fictional books, one about a serial killer. He'd had hard times, drug and alcohol problems, and had fathered an 11-year-old boy. Something was stopping me from writing the book. Then I thought, this guy has similarities to you, why don't you make him you?”

  • “The writer in the new novel is haunted by everything - his father, the things he wrote. American Psycho haunts me and it will be on my gravestone. That's why it is such an important part of Lunar Park .”

  • “I totally relate to Tom Cruise, ... He's not crazy, it's just the litany of the mid-life crisis.”

  • “I'm a believer that a book should exist on its own.”

  • “Writing a novel is not method acting and I find it easy to step out of it at cocktail hour.”

  • “Lunar Park came out of wanting to write a Stephen King novel. In 1989, I wanted to write two genre novels. I wanted to write a Stephen King novel and a Robert Ludlum novel. I loved those genres and those writers."
  • "I've always thought that as long as narrators are interesting, likability is not an issue."
  • "You can't stand over every reader, saying, "See this part here? That's supposed to be funny. You're not supposed to be so grossed out or so offended by it..."

Less Than Zero

  • "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."

  • "I come to a red light, tempted to go through it, then stop once I see a billboard sign that I don't remember seeing and I look up at it. All it says is "Disappear Here" and even though it's probably an ad for some resort, it still freaks me out a little and I step on the gas really hard and the car screeches as I leave the light."

The Rules of Attraction

  • "What does that mean know me, know me, nobody ever knows anybody else, ever! You will never know me. "

  • "...and it's a story that might bore you but you don't have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that, and it was, she thinks, her first year, or actually weekend, really a Friday, in September, at Camden, and this was three or four years ago, and she got so drunk that she ended up in bed, lost her virginity (late, she was eighteen) in Lorna Slavin's room, because she was a Freshman and had a roommate and Lorna was, she remembers, a Senior or Junior and usually somestimes at her boyfriend's place off-campus, to who she thought was a Sophomore Ceramics major but who was actually either some guy from N.Y.U., a film student, and up in New Hampshire just for The Dressed to Get Screwed party, or a townie."

  • "I only had sex with her because I'm in love with you. "

  • "A great numb feeling washes over me as I let go of the past and look forward to the future. Pretend to be a vampire. I don't really need to pretend, because it's who I am, an emotional vampire. I've just come to expect it. Vampires are real. That I was born this way. That I feed off of other people's real emotions. Search for this night's prey. Who will it be?"

  • "Got you. You're mine now. For the rest of the day, week, month, year, life. Have you guessed who I am? Sometimes I think you have. Sometimes when you're standing in a crowd I feel those sultry, dark eyes of yours stop on me. Are you too afraid to come up to me and let me know how you feel? I want to moan and writhe with you and I want to go up to you and kiss your mouth and pull you to me and say "I love you I love you I love you" while stripping. I want you so bad it stings. I want to kill the ugly girls that you're always with. Do you really like those boring, naive, coy, calculating girls or is it just for sex? The seeds of love have taken hold, and if we won't burn together, I'll burn alone."

  • "And it struck me then, that I liked Sean because he looked, well, slutty. A boy who had been around. A boy who couldn't remember if he was Catholic or not."

American Psycho

  • "ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Miserables on its side blocking his view, but Price who is with Pierce & Pierce and twenty-six doesn't seem to care because he tells the driver he will give him five dollars to turn up the radio, "Be My Baby" on WYNN, and the driver, black, not American, does so."

  • "…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a non contingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this—and I have countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed—and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing…."

  • "I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning"

  • "I'm into, oh murders and executions mostly. It depends."

  • "There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing. "

  • "A curtain of stars, miles of them, are scattered, glowing, across the sky and their multitude humbles me, which I have a hard time tolerating. She shrugs and nods after I say something about forms of anxiety. It's as if her mind is having a hard time communicating with her mouth, as if she is searching for a rational analysis of who I am, which is, of course, an impossibility: there... is... no... key."

  • "'What you need is a chick from Camden,' Van Patten says, after recovering from McDermott's statement.

    'Oh great,' I say. 'Some chick who thinks it's okay to fuck her brother.'

    'Yeah, but they think AIDS is a new band from England,' Price points out.

    'Where's dinner?' Van Patten asks, absently studying the question scrawled on his napkin. 'Where the fuck are we going?'

    'It's really funny that girls think guys are concerned with that, with diseases and stuff,' Van Patten says, shaking his head.

    'I'm not gonna wear a fucking condom,' McDermott announces.

    'I have read this article I've Xeroxed,' Van Patten says, 'and it says our chances of catching that are like zero zero zero zero point half a decimal percentage or something, and this no matter what kind of scumbag, slutbucket, horndog chick we end up boffing.'

    'Guys just cannot get it.'

    'Well, not white guys.'"

  • ""Hip," I murmur, remembering last night, how I lost it completely in a stall at Nell's---my mouth foaming, all I could think about were insects, lots of insects, and running at pigeons, foaming at the mouth and running at pigeons."

  • ""Hello, Halberstam," Owen says, walking by.
    "Hello, Owen," I say, admiring the way he's styled and slicked back his hair, with a part so even and sharp it... devastates me and I make a mental note to ask him where he purchases his hair-care products, which kind of mousse he uses, my final guesses after mulling over the possibilities being Ten-X."

  • "Disintegration---I'm taking it in stride."

  • "And though the coldness I have always felt leaves me, the numbness doesn't and probably never will. this relationship will probably lead to nothing... this didn't change anything. I imagine her smelling clean, like tea..."

  • "I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip."

The Informers

  • "Just read this fabulous screenplay. A remake of Camus's The Stranger with Meursault as a bi break-dancing punk rocker. Randy showed it to me. I loved it. Randy thinks "basically unfilmable" and that filming an orange rolling around a parking lot for three hours would draw a bigger audience."

  • "I keep feeling that people are becoming less human and more animalistic. They seem to think less and feel less so that everyone is operating on a very primitive level. I wonder what you and I will see in our lifetimes. It seems so hopeless yet we must keep on trying ... I guess we can't escape being a product of the times, can we?"


  • "The better you look, the more you see."

  • "We'll slide down the surface of things..."

  • "'As a genereal rule you shouldn't expect too much from people darling,' and then i kiss her on the cheek.

    'I just had my makeup done, so you can't make me cry.'"

  • Specks—-specks all over the third panel, see?—-no, that one—-the second one up from the floor and I wanted to point this out to someone yesterday but a photo shoot intervened and Yaki Nakamari or whatever the hell the designer's name is—-a master craftsman not—-mistook me for someone else so I couldn't register the complaint, but, gentlemen—-and ladies—-there they are: specks, annoying, tiny specks, and they don't look accidental but like they were somehow done by a machine—-so I don't want a lot of description, just the story, streamlined, no frills, the lowdown: who, what, where, when and don't leave out why, though I'm getting the distinct impression by the looks on your sorry faces that why won't get answered—-now, come on, goddamnit, what's the story?

Lunar Park

  • "You do an awfully good impression of yourself."

  • "I hear today's college women are 'prodigious.'"
    "Prodigious? Is that what you heard?"
    "Well, I read it in a magazine. It was something I wanted to believe."
    "The Jayster. Always a dreamer."

  • "Look how black the sky is, the writer said. I made it that way."

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