Saturday, May 9, 2009

Read at Tribeca: Less Than Zero

I mentioned in my Tribeca recap that I'd burned through a lot of reading material in the rush lines. Included in that pile was the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero, a portrait of vacuous, drug-addled L.A. youth culture. One of the book blurbs calls Ellis a (more) modern Salinger, but I'd say he's more of a hipster Hemingway. His narrative is similarly constructed from stacks of simple declarative sentences and little bits of two-word dialogue. Interior life was addressed obliquely if at all, a technique that was either affecting or annoying. I still can't decide which.

While reading this I did feel the hollowness of Ellis' characters seeping gradually into my own moods, which is perhaps an elegant illustration of how easy it is to fall into that pit. I felt a weird relationship to them. I was happy that my life isn't nearly as fucked up as theirs, yet I envied their rock-bottom-ness. If that makes any sense.


  1. Dude, I fucking loved Less than Zero when I was in High School....I totally tried to emulate Clay at that time....good times! Suddenly "Hazy Shade of Winter" is playing in my head...thanks a lot Dustin...this shit will go on for hours!

  2. I'm a book before movie guy, but in this case, I saw the movie first :(

    I'd recommend it with a few buts thrown in <-- laziest movie review ever.

    You seen it yet?