My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A dark and fascinating follow-up to Less than Zero, taking up the same themes but it’s not a rehash, it’s a work in itself, and a pretty damn good one. The protagonist is horrific on so many levels (maybe not as bad as Bateman), but as always with Ellis, a sort of morbid curiosity makes us thirsty for knowledge, we need to know. What happens? Does he get his due? Is there justice in the world?
Unsurprisingly, there is no justice in the Ellisverse. But there is twisted irony, there is an “after-the-fact” rationality to give shape to the narrative, sometimes even an after-taste of poetic justice. I like that about these two novels, and about Ellis in general: he doesn’t seem to judge, just presents in a stark, graphic manner a very pared-down and ultra-realistic narrative about people so self-obsessed and egotistical they could only be real. I put this book down a few times thinking, I don’t want a documentary about dislikeable people…
But then I got curious, I wanted to know. Maybe that’s why Ellis has the cache he has, that aura. He seems to know something dark about us and sometimes, you just get curious. You have to know too.