Glamorama

Ellis, Bret Easton

Published by Knopf, 1998
ISBN 10: 0375404120 / ISBN 13: 9780375404122
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Synopsis: We'll slide down the surface of things . . .

From his first novel--Less Than Zero, published when he was still a college student--to his most recent--the fierce American PsychoBret Easton Ellis has been a powerful and original presence in contemporary literature, whether giving voice to a previously inchoate generation or provoking a controversy that raged throughout the culture.

Now he takes a quantum leap forward: an awesome reckoning of the American Century at endgame. In Glamorama, a young man in what is recognizably fashion- and celebrity-obsessed Manhattan is gradually, imperceptibly drawn into a shadowy looking-glass of that society, there and in London and Paris, and then finds himself trapped on the other side,
in a much darker place where fame and terrorism and family and politics are inextricably linked and sometimes indistinguishable. At once implicated and horror-stricken, his ways of escape blocked at every turn, he ultimately discovers--back on the other, familiar side--that there was no mirror, no escape, no world but this one in which hotels implode and planes fall from the sky.

Time and again, the novel confounds one's expectations of it, and Bret Ellis accomplishes the transitions from comic to surreal to horrific to humane with astonishing confidence. Matching ambition with artistic maturity, Glamorama is at once hilarious, savage in its worldly observation, and compassionate in its vision: a defining novel of our times.

Review: 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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Glamorama
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Near Fine+
Edition: First Edition / First Printing.

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Ellis, Bret Easton
Published by Knopf (1998)
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Ellis, Bret Easton
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