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american psycho

Ten years ago I read Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho when it just came out. At the time, I could only marginally understand the harsh criticism to the 1980s and american consumerism, partly because I was a teenager with science fiction and fantasy on my mind, partly because I really didn't know a lot of the things the book talked about. As far as I was concerned, a lot of what was said there was fiction. Regarding the violence in it, I remember at times getting so disgusted that I just skipped entire pages.

About 4 weeks ago I wandered into a bookstore and found it, somehow buying it without thinking. Now I could read it as it was meant to, with full knowledge of the society (and particularly, a certain strata of society) the book was talking about, and I just finished reading it.

And what a read. The gems are many, from the obsession with designer clothing to the fact that everyone looks so much like everyone else that they spend most of the time confused, talking to people thinking they are someone they are not, waving to acquaintances that are total strangers. The chasing of reservations at cool restaurants, the 90-dollar pizzas, the constant working out to appear perfect since appearance is everything.

The violence (and the sex) are possibly the most explicit that have been included in a serious book (even Fight Club published a few years later, pales in comparison). At times it is sickening. However, because of the banality of the context and the people that surround the narrator, the lack of real humanity, the trap that he is in, it is probably necessary to go to such extremes: anything less and it would be put in the "thriller" or whatever.

Maybe it will be another ten years until I read it again. It would be interesting to see what my view is then.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on October 6 2002 at 3:23 PM

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