Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This tale of privileged college students at their self- absorbed and childish worst is the very book that countless students have dreamed of writing at their most self-absorbed and childish moments. With one bestseller to his credit, Less Than Zero author and recent Bennington College graduate Ellis has had the unique opportunity of seeing his dream become a realityand all those other once-and-future students can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn't happen to them. Through a series of brief first-person accounts, the novel chronicles one term at a fictional New England college, with particular emphasis on a decidedly contemporary love triangle (one woman and two men) in which all possible combinations have been explored, and each pines after the one who's pining after the other. Theirs is a world of physical, chemical and emotional excessan adolescent fantasy of sex, drugs and sturm und drangwherein characters are distinguished only by the respective means by which they squander their health, wealth and youth. Despite its contemporary feel and flashy structurethe book begins and ends midsentencethe narrative relies on the stalest staples of melodrama and manages to pack in a suicide, assorted suicide attempts, an abortion and the death of a parent without giving the impression that anything is happeningor that any of it matters. Major ad/promo. (September 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Having yawned at hyper-decadent L.A. in Less Than Zero (1985), Ellis here seems just as bored with the ultra-hip rich kids wasting time by getting wasted at super-chic Camden College (read: Bennington) in chilled-out New England. For lack of an apparent plot or point, Ellis strings together a series of deliberately listless vignettes, each narrated by one of the many terminally numb characters who sleep walk through this nightmare. At the center of the various competing narratives is the ""so good-looking"" Sean Bateman, who describes his college pursuits thusly: ""Get drunk, screw constantly."" And he does both with little concern for anyone else. He lies, cheats, and shoplifts mainly in an effort to cover up the fact that he's mega-rich, but also because he's just plain nasty--to his dying father, his yuppie brother, and to all his lovers at school, especially Paul, an unabashedly gay drama major who's self-deluded enough to misread Sean's cryptic remarks as true love. Sean's all-purpose comments (""Rock 'n' roll"" and ""Deal with it"") eventually infuriate his other main squeeze, Lauren, who took up with Sean only because her lover, Victor, is in Europe. The other indistinct voices heard here belong to Stuart, who lusts for Paul at a distance; Mary, who leaves anonymous mash-notes for Sean, then slashes her wrists when he ignores her at a ""Dressed to Get Screwed Party""; Victor, who doesn't even remember Lauren; Mitchell, who's trying to forget his homosexual past with Paul; and so on in this bisexual daisy-chain of a novel. Only Bertrand, a French student who writes articles for the school paper on herpes and Ecstasy (the drug), sounds distinct--his brief bit is transcribed in Ellis' Intermediate French. A few Camden characters from Jill Eisenstadt's new novel (see above) have cameos here--a much-publicized in-joke between these fellow Benningtonites. Without an authorial voice of any kind, it's difficult to blame Ellis himself for the shaky grammar and inept prose, but it does make you wonder. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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