- Bret Easton Ellis
name = Bret Easton Ellis
imagesize = 160px
caption = Ellis at the 2006 book fair in
birthdate = birth date and age|1964|3|7
Los Angeles, California
occupation = novelist
movement = Postmodern
Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Stephen King, James Joyce, Gustave Flaubert, Balzac
Michel Houellebecq, Chuck Palahniuk, Joe McGinniss Jr.
website = http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/eastonellis/
Bret Easton Ellis (born
March 7, 1964in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. He was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack,cite web| url = http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/birnbaum_v/bret_easton_ellis.php| title = Birnbaum v. Bret Easton Ellis| publisher = themorningnews.org| work = The Morning News| date = 2006-01-19| accessdate = 2007-02-25] which also included Tama Janowitzand Jay McInerney. He has called himself a moralist,cite web| url = http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2005/08/21/2003268662| title = Bret Easton Ellis loses a few marbles in `Lunar Park'| publisher = taipeitimes.com| work = Taipei Times| date = 2005-08-21| accessdate = 2007-02-25] although he is one of his generation's most controversial authors because of his graphic prose style. Influenced by French social realists like Flaubertand Balzac, Ellis updates those novelists' themes of youthful ennui, materialism, status obsession, and social trangression; he also employs their technique of linking novels with common, recurring characters. His dystopic locales typically make use of large, dense cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Paris.
He was born
March 7, 1964in Los Angeles and raised in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, the son of Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and Dale Ellis, a homemaker. His parents divorced in 1982. He was educated at The Buckley School, where he did not distinguish himself; then he took a music-based course at Bennington Collegein Vermont, which is thinly disguised as Camden Arts Collegein his novel " The Rules of Attraction" and his other books. He was a part-time musician in 1980s bands such as The Parents before his first book was published (while he was still a student). " Less Than Zero," a tale of disaffected, rich teenagers of Los Angeles, was praised by critics and sold well (50,000 copies in its first year). He moved to New York City in 1987 for the publication of his second novel.
The Rules of Attraction" followed a group of sexually promiscuous college students, and sold fairly well, though Ellis admits he felt he had "fallen off", after the novel failed to match the success of his debut effort.
His most controversial work, the graphically violent novel "
American Psycho," was intended to be published by Simon & Schuster, but they withdrew after external protests from interest groups such as the NOW and many others due to the perceived misogynisticnature of the book. The novel was later published by Vintage. Some consider this novel, whose protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is both a cartoonishly materialistic yuppieand a serial killer, to be an example of transgressive art. "American Psycho" has achieved considerable cult status.
His collection of short stories, "
The Informers," contains vignettes of wayward Los Angeles characters ranging from rock stars to vampires.
The novel "
Glamorama" is set in the world of high fashion, following a male model who becomes entangled in a bizarre terrorist organization comprised entirely of other models. The book plays with themes of media, celebrity, and political violence, and like its predecessor "American Psycho" it uses surrealism to convey a sense of postmodern dread.
His most recent novel is "
Lunar Park," which uses the form of a celebrity memoir to tell a ghost story about the novelist "Bret Easton Ellis" and his chilling experiences in the apparently-haunted home he shares with his wife and son. In keeping with his usual style, Ellis mixes absurd comedy with a bleak and violent vision.
In August 2005, Ellis broke his silence about his
homosexualityand told " The New York Times" that his best friend and lover for six years, Michael Wade Kaplan, died in January 2004, at the age of 30. The article entitled, "Bret Easton Ellis: The Man in the Mirror" states the following about Michael Wade Kaplan and Bret Easton Ellis' relationship:
cquote|The other dedication is to Michael Wade Kaplan, who Mr. Ellis said was his best friend and lover for six years, and who died, in January 2004, at the age of 30. They did not live together, Mr. Ellis said: "It was a very loose kind of partnership. It was not particularly conventional, and neither one of us was interested in the lifestyle, I guess."
Mr. Kaplan died barely a month after Mr. Ellis had traveled from New York to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his mother and two sisters, as he has in most years since he finished college and moved to Manhattan. He planned to spend a few months finishing the final draft of "Lunar Park" and then return to New York.
Instead, he said, Mr. Kaplan's unexpected death left him in a tailspin. He did not attend the funeral in Michigan, he said, because he could not even bring himself to leave his room - the room in his mother's house in Sherman Oaks, in the San Fernando Valley, where he grew up. And he stayed in Los Angeles for 19 months, shuffling from mother to sister to friend and finally a series of hotels, suffering what he calls "a midlife crisis."
"His death was a big catalyst to finish the novel", Mr. Ellis said, and it probably added "a new layer of wistfulness and melancholy to the writing" that had not been there before.
His latest novel, Lunar Park, was dedicated to Michael Wade Kaplan as well as his father, Robert Ellis, about whom he speaks openly in interviews done while promoting this novel. Robert Ellis died in 1992. In one interview [cite web|url=http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/interviews/breteastonellis/|title=Bret Easton Ellis|accessdate=2007-09-26|author=Dennis Widmyer ] he states:
In yet another interview [cite web|url=http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780375412912&view=qa|title=A Conversation with Bret Easton Ellis|accessdate=2007-09-26 ] Bret Easton Ellis comments:
Bret Easton Ellis has said that the character of Patrick Bateman, from "American Psycho", was originally based on his father.cite web| url = http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307264305&view=auqa| title = Author Q & A: A conversation with Bret Easton Ellis| publisher = randomhouse.com| accessdate = 2007-02-25]
Less Than Zero" (1985)
The Rules of Attraction" (1987)
American Psycho" (1991)
The Informers" (linked short stories, 1994)
Lunar Park" (2005)
Imperial Bedrooms" Sequel to Less Than Zero (Expected 2010)
"Less Than Zero" was made into a film in 1987, directed by Marek Kanievska and starring
Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey Jrand Jami Gertz. "American Psycho" was filmed in 2000, directed by Mary Harronand starring Christian Bale. "The Rules of Attraction" was filmed in 2002, directed by Roger Avaryand starring James Van Der Beekand Shannyn Sossamon. A film based on "Glamorama" was set for a 2007 release, again directed by Avary, but has been delayed for unknown reasons. Additionally, there is a film called " Glitterati" made from additional footage that was filmed for "The Rules of Attraction."
A film about Ellis, titled "This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis", was made in 2000. The film is a combination of a documentary on his life as well as dramatizations of scenes from his books.
An adaptation of the collection of short stories "
The Informers" by Ellis is in post-production due for release this year (2008). Directed by Gregor Jordan, script written by Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki, staring Brad Renfro.
He recently wrote the screenplay for a film titled "
The Frog King" which is set to start filming with Joseph Gordon-Levitt starring. [http://www.darkhorizons.com/news07/070502b.php]
His latest novel, "Lunar Park", is being made into a movie looking towards a 2009 release date. It was adapted into a screenplay by Lane Shadgett.
Ellis often uses recurring characters and settings. Major characters in one novel may become minor ones in the next, or vice versa. Camden College, a fictional
New England liberal artscollege, is frequently referenced. It is based on Bennington College, which Ellis himself attended, where he met and befriended fellow writer Donna Tartt.
*"Less Than Zero" - Camden is referred to several times. Both Clay, the novel's protagonist and narrator, and Daniel, are said to be attending it.
*"The Rules of Attraction" - Clay appears as a minor character and narrates one chapter. He is referred to as "The Guy from L.A." before being properly introduced. Main character
Sean Batemanis younger brother of Patrick Bateman, who will later become the protagonist of "American Psycho". Patrick appears briefly and narrates one chapter. Camden is the main setting of the novel. Additionally, the creations of Ellis' friend and fellow author Donna Tartt's 1992 novel The Secret Historyare referenced in the form of a passing mention of "those creepy Classics kids, off in the woods performing human sacrifice or whatever". On "the guy from L.A.'s" door someone wrote "Rest In Peace Called"; R.I.P., or Rip, is Clay's dealer in Less Than Zero, also Clay says that Blair from Less than Zero sent him a letter saying she thinks Rip was murdered.
*"American Psycho" -
Sean Batemanappears briefly. Paul from "The Rules of Attraction" is mentioned, as well as Victor Ward. Camden is referred to as both Sean's college and the college a minor character named Vanden is going to. Vanden was referred to (but never appeared) in "Less Than Zero" as well as "The Rules of Attraction". Certain passages from "Less Than Zero" reappear, almost verbatim, here, with Patrick replacing Clay as narrator. Patrick makes repeated references to Jami Gertz, the actress who portrays Blair in the film adaptation of "Less Than Zero". Scott and Ann or Anne Smiley have "California Classic Cuisine" at Deck Chairs with Patrick and Courtney.
The Informers" - Chapter 3: The son of one of the many narrators in the book "The Informers", Graham, buys concert tickets from Julian, a character from "Less Than Zero". The daughter of the narrator, Susan, goes on to say that Julian sells heroin and is a male prostitute, which is true. Graham refutes the claim that Julian is a male prostitute. In this chapter, Susan also hangs out with Alana and Blair, characters from "Less Than Zero".
*"The Informers" - The son of the narrator of Chapter 4, "In the Islands" is Timothy Price, an acquaintance/friend of
Patrick Batemanin "American Psycho".
*"The Informers" - Chapter 8 consists solely of letters written to Sean Bateman, of "The Rules of Attraction", by a girl named Anne who leaves Camden to visit her grandparents in L.A. The letters never reveal Sean's last name, but they reference one of his catch phrases: "Deal with it." The letters are also never replied to. This is evident from the way Anne begs for a reply during each letter.
Patrick Batemanappears briefly, as does a character said to resemble Christian Bale, the actor who portrays Bateman in the film version of "American Psycho". Main characters Victor Ward and Lauren Hynde were first introduced in "The Rules of Attraction". Jamie Fields, who has a major role in the book, was first briefly mentioned by Victor in "The Rules of Attraction", though she does not make an appearance in the book, just is referenced to. Bertrand, Sean and Mitchell, all from "The Rules of Attraction", appear in a Camden flashback and several other "Rules" characters are referenced. Alison Poole, a minor character from "American Psycho", in fact first appeared as the protagonist of fellow literary Brat Pack member Jay McInerney's 1988 novel "Story of My Life". Both Jay and Allison make return appearances in "Lunar Park".
*"Lunar Park" - All the author's previous works are heavily referenced, in keeping with the book-within-a-book structure.
Jay McInerneyhas a cameo role, attending the Halloweenparty Bret hosts at his house with Jayne Dennis.
In popular culture
Bloc Party's 2007 album " A Weekend in the City", the opening track, "Song for Clay (Disappear Here)", is based on the main character from Ellis's novel "Less Than Zero".cite web| url = http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/page/news/2006/6/8/Exclusive_Kele_Okereke_Talks_New_Bloc_Party_Album#36828| title = Exclusive: Kele Okereke Talks New Bloc Party Album| publisher = Pitchfork Media| date=2006-06-08| accessdate = 2007-02-25]
An album by
Porcupine Tree, " Fear of a Blank Planet", was largely inspired by Ellis' novel, "Lunar Park". [ [http://www.planet-loud.com/v6/interview.php?interview_id=1040 An Interview with Porcupine Tree // Planet-Loud Dot Com] ] While the novel is told from the father's point of view, the record is mostly from the son's point of view, although "My Ashes" reflects the regrets of the son's dead grandfather as they scatter his ashes, referencing the scene at the end of "Lunar Park". Eminem's group D12have two songs called 'American Psycho' and 'American Psycho 2'. The Misfitshave a song called American Psycho off their 1997 album "American Psycho". The song is written about Patrick Bateman and references the story many times.
Welsh rock band
Manic Street Preacherswrote a song about the character Patrick Bateman entitled 'Patrick Bateman'. The song was featured on the B-side of their single La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh)released July 26, 1993. The song gained a small amount of notoriety for the line 'I fucked God up the ass'.
In the television series Dexter, the main character uses Patrick Bateman as an alias.
The metalcore band Zao has a song called Breathe Of The Black Muse in reference to American Psycho
List of novelists from the United States
List of horror fiction authors
* [http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/eastonellis/ Official website of Bret Easton Ellis]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A6127427 BBC Collective video interview about Lunar Park]
* [http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-ellis23mar23,0,6124808.story LA Times feature]
The Guardian[http://books.guardian.co.uk/authors/author/0,5917,-61,00.html Bret Easton Ellis]
* [http://www.acidlogic.com/im_bret_easton_ellis.htm A short bio on Ellis at acidlogic.com]
*imdb name|id=0254735|name=Bret Easton Ellis
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A6127427 BBC Collective: Watch 'Lunar Park' interview, October 2005]
* [http://www.salon.com/books/feature/1999/01/cov_22feature.html 1999 Salon.com article]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0865554/ The Informers on IMdb]
* [http://www.largeheartedboy.com/blog/archive/2005/08/book_notes_bret.html Book Notes essay for 'Lunar Park' at Largehearted Boy]
NAME= Ellis, Bret Easton
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American novelist
DATE OF BIRTH=
March 7, 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Los Angeles, California
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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