Imperial Bedrooms – Brett Easton Ellis
Now, unpopular opinion time but I’m not really the biggest Brett Easton Ellis fan. I think having success as young as he did and topping book chart after book chart is amazing and very commendable. Having said that I don’t really like his books, not because of the writing but the subject matter, all of his characters seem a little bit sociopathic for me and just not very relatable. I know I’m probably offending just about everyone with this but having read three of his books now (less than zero, American psycho and this one) and seen three of his film adaptations (less than zero, rules of attraction and American psycho) it is an informed opinion.
So, onto the book.
Imperial Bedrooms is the sequel to Less Than Zero which sees us being reunited with all the original characters now in middle age. I’ve read Less Than Zero and I couldn’t get into it – the characters were all too callous and middle class and I think maybe I was too young and not of the right era to really appreciate it as a look on the LA middle classes. Also as mentioned above I’ve seen the film which I actually enjoyed – probably because its nothing like the book (which is a point raised in Imperial Bedrooms.)
When the book opens it starts with Clay discussing the first book saying it was written by an author that the group of kids had met in 1985 and about how he thought it was mostly accurate but not very forgiving of their youth. Clay also talks about the film (even quoting it and describing Andrew McCarthy at one point), he says that the only person who actually enjoyed the film was Julian Welles which I think stems from Brett Easton Ellis’s opinions on the film.
The story then turns to Clay returning home to LA – not for Christmas as it was in Less Than Zero – after spending time in New York where he had been working as a script writer. Of course, it couldn’t be a nice happy return filled with hugs and kisses, another script writer has gone missing and Clay is being stalked.
The book gets darker as it goes on in true Brett Easton Ellis fashion, despite my general dislike for his other books I decided to read this based on the fact that Less Than Zero is probably the best of the bunch and because I wanted to see how the story would continue with the film being in existence. I’m actually really glad that I did, I loved every minute of Imperial Bedrooms. It wasn’t funny but it was smirk inducing (especially the critic on the film at the beginning) and the story was leagues ahead of Less Than Zero, because it had an actual story with real mystery and I always wonder what happens to characters once a book has ended.
Big thumbs up for Imperial Bedrooms – everyone should read it. Unless you have a particular attachment to Julian Welles (you’ll find out why) I was a tad upset by what happens to him, although maybe the film spelled that out back in 1987