So here we go, after long years of being away from the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m going to write about thrillers of all stripes, mysteries and crime novels for 26 days in April, based on the letters of the alphabet.
I begin with American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.
America Psycho: Book Description
Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.
American Psycho excerpt: (the innocuous, tame, first paragraph)
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 Misérables 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.
“I’m resourceful,” Price is saying. “I’m creative, I’m young, unscrupulous, highly motivated, highly skilled. In essence what I’m saying is that society cannot afford to lose me. I’m an asset.” Price calms down, continues to stare out the cab’s dirty window, probably at the word FEAR sprayed in red graffiti on the side of a McDonald’s on Fourth and Seventh. “I mean the fact remains that no one gives a shit about their work, everybody hates their job, I hate my job, you’ve told me you hate yours. What do I do? Go back to Los Angeles? Not an alternative. I didn’t transfer from UCLA to Stanford to put up with this. I mean am I alone in thinking we’re not making enough money?” Like in a movie another bus appears, another poster for Les Misérables replaces the word—not the same bus because someone has written the word DYKE over Eponine’s face. Tim blurts out, “I have a co-op here. I have a place in the Hamptons, for Christ sakes.”
“Parents’, guy. It’s the parents’.”
“I’m buying it from them. Will you fucking turn this up?” he snaps but distractedly at the driver, the Crystals still blaring from the radio.
“It don’t go up no higher,” maybe the driver says.
Timothy ignores him and irritably continues. “I could stay living in this city if they just installed Blaupunkts in the cabs. Maybe the ODM III or ORC II dynamic tuning systems?” His voice softens here. “Either one. Hip my friend, very hip.”
About the author of American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis is an American author, screenwriter, short-story writer, and director. He is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories; his work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He is a self-proclaimed satirist whose trademark technique, as a writer, is the expression of extreme acts and opinions in an affectless style. His novels commonly share recurring characters.
Why pick up American Psycho
I’ll be honest. I picked it up purely because I’d heard so much about it and wanted to know what the buzz was about. It starts off innocuously enough, with long, colorful descriptions of the upper-class in Manhattan in the 1980s, its racism and sexism, its obsession with image and wealth, until you realize you’re in the mind of a pyscopathic killer. He kills indiscriminately, men, women, animals, and with a dispassionate voice tells us all while making plans for the evening with his investment banker friends. What’s more, the violence goes on, for pages, graphically. I had to take many breaks and was nauseous at the end of it. I do not recommend it for anyone with no stomach for violence, which I guess should be everybody, but sadly that’s not the world we live in. There’s violence, heaps of it, cycles of it, generations of it. Over and covert violence, and especially violence against women’s bodies.
Ellis has written it as satire, going to extreme lengths to make it a commentary of out basest impulses as individuals, and societies. Its ugliness is the ugliness of humanity. I read it when I was much younger, and could still glaze over violence. If asked if I’d read it again? Probably not.
It probably was a great lesson in voice, in tone, and in maniacally detailed description (I have killer’s voice in my latest novel), but the older me can’t help but wonder about the lingering, languishing–you might even call it wallowing– in the misogyny and violence. After a certain point, you think, I got your point. Really, I did. Let’s move on to the next thing–this is not a slasher movie.
That’s the thing, the fans tell me, it is meant to be relentless.
American Psycho is one you’d have to decide for yourself. For me, I guess the book (and the movie) is VERY worth it for the conversations it generates, but I don’t know if I can take the roiling of gore and death any more, not when I see so much of it visited upon humanity everyday.
Have you read the book, American Psycho? Watched the movie? If yes, what did you think? What thrillers have you read lately ?
Through the month of April, to celebrate the challenge and get some support for THE BLUE BAR, I’m holding this giveaway:
Enter to WIN a 50 USD Amazon gift card for this
Entries are simple: click the RAFFLECOPTER link above, and follow the instructions. It calls for a Goodreads add, a subscription request, and a follow on Instagram.
And if you want a shot at a mega prize, here’s another rafflecopter for 350 USD (yes, that’s the correct amount) you can enter by following authors, including me, on Bookbub.
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