In 1985, Bret Easton Ellis shocked, stunned and disturbed with Less Than Zero, his ‘extraordinarily accomplished first novel’ (New Yorker), successfully chronicling the frightening consequences of unmitigated hedonism within the ranks of the ethically bereft youth of 80s Los Angeles. Twenty-five years later, Ellis returns to those same characters – to Clay and the band of infamous teenagers whose lives weave sporadically through his – but now, they face an even greater period of disaffection: their own middle age. Clay seems to have moved on – he’s become a successful screenwriter – but when he returns from New York to Los Angeles, to help cast his new movie, he’s soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his vulnerable former girlfriend, is now married to Trent – still a bisexual philanderer – and their Beverly Hills parties attract excessive levels of fame and fortune. Clay’s childhood friend Julian is a recovering addict running an ultra-discreet, high-class escort service, and their old dealer Rip, reconstructed and face-lifted nearly beyond recognition, is involved in activities far more sinister than those of his notorious past. After a meeting with a gorgeous but talentless actress determined to win a role in his movie, Clay finds himself connected with Kelly Montrose, a producer whose gruesomely violent death is suddenly very much the talk of the town. As his seemingly endless proclivity for betrayal leads him to be drawn further and further into this ominous case it looks like he will face far more serious consequences than ever before.
My Humble View of Imperial Bedrooms
In 1985 Bret Easton Ellis burst onto the literary scene with Less Than Zero, twenty-five years later, the author revisits the life of the main character Clay in Imperial Bedrooms.
In Less Than Zero, Clay was a disaffected LA twenty-something, and the story followed his drug addled existence as he and his acquaintances went about living the high life (literally) in LaLa-land. In Imperial Bedrooms, Clay hasn’t changed much, which Easton Ellis does an excellent job of showing by mimicking exactly the tone of his earlier novel. Sure he has aged, and he has a semi-successful career as a screenwriter, but he is still the same self-obsessed, paranoid Hollywood player who spends most of his spare time having sex and doing drugs (normally at the same time). Imperial Bedrooms however isn’t the same novel as Less Than Zero, just twenty-five years later. No, there is a twist in the tale of Clay’s life. This time around Clay is obsessed with a young actress called Rain, a young actress who will tear Clay’s life apart, taking us readers on a wild ride which ends in a violent episode reminiscent of something you might find in Ellis’s magnum opus American Psycho.
For fans of Bret Easton Ellis, Imperial Bedrooms, if you haven’t already read it is a novel that should go on your ‘must read’ list immediately. For those who have yet to read a novel of Ellis’, I suggest you might want to try American Psycho first, it may help you prepare for writing of Bret Easton Ellis, which for various reasons isn’t to everyone’s taste. Or if you prefer you can preview the novel in the video below, which will also give you an insight not only into the novel but also it’s author, who I think is the best American author working today.
- imperial bedrooms (sippey.com)