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Bret Easton Ellis

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A noteworthy member of ‘literary Brat Pack’, Bret Easton Ellis, is an American author. Born on 7th of March, 1964, Ellis belonged to a well-off Los Angeles family and was brought up in Sherman Oaks. His writing career is deemed controversial at best for his unconventional and radical plots, characters often ending up upsetting certain groups.

Being a son of a property developer offered him a privileged life but it couldn’t save him from an alcoholic abusive father. Ellis professed that the infamous character of Patrick Bateman from one of his most disturbing novels, American Psycho, is somewhat influenced by his father. He received his education from a well-known school attended by the upper-class, The Buckley School. His parents separation came along the same time he was about to graduate. In Vermont he attended Bennington College enrolling himself for a music course but later switched to writing. Here he also met his best friends and future notable writers Jonathan Lethem and Donna Tartt.

Ellis made his writing debut with the novel Less Than Zero that was published in 1985. The novel received mixed reviews from critics yet climbed the bestselling list of books. It took him five years to produce that novel as he wrote and rewrote about his personal experiences which later transform from journal entries into novel form. Less Than Zero has a zeitgeist feel to it as it narrates the story of discontented wealthy teenagers of Los Angeles. In 1887 Ellis produced his second novel entitled, The Rules of Attraction. Being a little too autographical it could not manage to surpass the success of Ellis’ previous work. The narrative technique employed in the novel is stream-of-consciousness. Moreover, Ulyssess by James Joyce remains the highly influential source for the novel.

In Ellis literary career 1991 proved to be most controversial year with the release of his psychological drama, American Psycho. The novel is regarded as one of the appalling and repulsive literature work by the majority of critics and feminists. It was the highly graphic violence and misogynistic content of the work that earned Ellis a notorious reputation among writers. The ‘transgressive art’ form applied in the novel had Ellis’ publishers withdrew the publishing contract.

The first person narrative of American Psycho recounts the story of a Manhattan businessman with a disturbing personality of a serial killer. According to Ellis himself the character of Patrick Bateman is constructed out of extreme loneliness, self-hatred and bleak atmosphere and to whom he identifies himself somewhat. Despite generating every kind of controversy the book was later adapted into a movie by Mary Harron, starring Christian Bale as the lead. The big-screen adaptation ended up not only obtaining encouraging feedback but a cult status.

In the years following the publication American Psycho, Ellis work became progressively more metafictional. Lunar Park (2005) is marked as a pseudo-memoir as it keeps fading in and out of Ellis’ true memoirs into a fictional story. The absurd realm of the story keeps shifting from Ellis’ mock account of his life into grim tale, leaving a powerful impact on readers. In fact, the book had been able to garner positive response from critics and readers.

Besides Bret Easton Ellis, the famous literary brat pack included Jay McInerney and Tama Janowitz. He claims to have acquired inspiration for his work from eminent literary figures like James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Joan Didion and Don DeLillo. Ellis is a notable satirist with an uncanny ability to voice his radical thoughts and feelings in his work of art.

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