Haunted by Patrick

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Bret Easton Ellis warns readers of Lunar Park that the events in the book really, truly happened to him. And since American Psycho was amazing, I was all set to believe everything I was about to read, bullshit or no bullshit.

Patrick Bateman, the character that started it all happens to have a huge fan. It’s a fandom so huge, it’s scary. Generally abhorred and excoriated by critics, publishers, women and gay groups, American Psycho (a book I truly like) has become the finest example of how not to develop attachment with a Bret Easton Ellis character. As a group, his characters are bad, soulless people and Patrick Bateman is their poster boy. What’s mildly surprising is how bent Ellis seems on making us believe that Bateman is the work of something else, and in his attempt to prove this he aspired to become a boring, suburban house dad, with minor dalliances with college hotties and coke-sniffing on the side. He was hoping that he, unlike his character, has too much of a soul and humanity in him that creating the monster that is Bateman was not entirely his idea. He should not have bothered because as murderous as he is, Patrick Bateman, as are most Patricks are, is a wonderful character.

He recounts his brief but scary encounter with the ghosts of his past and with the almost concrete and literal ghosts of the present: the ugly relationship with the dad with whom he mostly based his most famous creation, Patrick Bateman, the bomb of a marriage with actress Jayne Dennis, and the struggle with the embittered son Robby. It’s always amusing to wonder what these people that he ruthlessly used as characters in his fiction, might think of the whole charade.

As with most established authors, Ellis’ most recent work is sure to attract certain ghosts of its own, one of which would certainly be its incapacity to equal its predecessor’s greatness, most of which will be taken up by that great American novel, American Psycho. But Ellis, like most of his fiction, has a way of hinting that he’s not all about that shit. Just when you thought it was about something, it turns out that it isn’t (i.e. Psycho isn’t just about a psycho, Glamorama isn’t about fashion, etc).

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7 thoughts on “Haunted by Patrick

  1. Heh. What a coinkydink. I just finished reading The Rules of Attraction. I love Ellis’ soulless hedonists; they’re so disturbing, they’re entertaining. I was thinking of getting Glamorama next. Maybe I’ll get this one after.

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