Bret Easton Ellis, still provocative but no longer angry

Ellis is on a path. But at least he has a reputation for soliciting public controversy and is happy to take on the role of provocateur in the Kulturkampf. Five years ago, the author published a written public apology in Dear Kathryn Bigelow, Bret Easton Ellis is truly sorry after insulting American filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow. “[She] would be considered reasonably interesting if she were a man but being a very hot woman she is really overrated,” Ellis tweeted.

In his 2019 volume of essays White The author expressed his outrage at politically correct liberal America. “I wanted to call the book Privileged White Malebecause that’s me,” he says. “But that dog tag has become the epitome of evil for many.”

Some critics pointed to the book’s most revealing theme: visceral anger. “I wrote the book in 2018 when everyone was angry,” admits Ellis. “I’m not here anymore.”

Bret Easton Ellis was photographed in 1994 during his coke years. But he found writing to be more fun.

Bret Easton Ellis was photographed in 1994 during his coke years. But he found writing to be more fun.Credit:

Born into a wealthy family in LA in 1964, Ellis wears his Gen X identity tag as a badge of honor. “We lived in the most mundane, obnoxious time when you could say whatever you wanted and nobody cared,” he says.

By contrast, millennials are a bunch of attention-seeking, whining crybabies who always play the victim card, the author claims. “These people believe that anyone who disagrees with them should be canceled. Oh, the horror, the horror,” he says, and bursts out in fits of laughter. “It’s absurd. I was fired three times. For my Twitter account. For White. And for writing american psycho.”

The controversial 1991 cult novel (which later became a hit film) chronicles the life of a New York City narcissist, Patrick Bateman. By day he works as an investment banker on Wall Street. At night, he drinks his own urine and roams the streets of Manhattan looking for women to slit their throats. A reviewer The New York Times described the book as “an unnecessary degradation of human life, especially that of women”.


“The critics are all wrong,” says Ellis. “Depicting misogyny is not an act of misogyny. american psycho became my quest to understand Patrick Bateman’s madness.”

Ellis was in his late 20s at the time, living a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle in Manhattan. He didn’t care what the American literary establishment thought of him or his books. “I wasn’t worried about my career,” he says. “I just wanted to have sex. I was really into drugs and I liked going to clubs.”

Back then, a cola binge could last four days at a time. But Ellis insists he sat back at his desk early Monday morning to focus on what he did best: writing fiction. “The coke years were roughly 1988 to 2002,” says Ellis. “Writing was more fun than drinking coke, so I quit when I moved back to LA.”

“I’m 58 now,” says Ellis philosophically. “The thought of going out and drinking coke makes me nauseous. i like a good wine The occasional cocktail. When I can’t sleep, an Ativan. Unfortunately, many of us end up there.”

The shards is published by Swift Press for $32.99.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from book editor Jason Steger. Get it delivered every Friday. Bret Easton Ellis, still provocative but no longer angry

Jaclyn Diaz

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