I read American Psycho for CBR5, and it was—at the time—a profoundly shocking and defining experience. If you’ve followed me for the past few years on CBR or Goodreads, then you’ll recall that I ended up featuring the novel in my fourth chapter of my dissertation and have since continued talking about it to this day. So apparently, the trauma couldn’t have ruined me forever, right? I wondered what other Ellis novels would be like, but I read Less Than Zero and HATED IT. So, I cooled off on Bret Easton Ellis.
And then, wandering the audiobook shelves of my local library, I saw a copy of Lunar Park. Read by James Van Der Beek. Or, if you are like me and a 90s kid, Dawson.
THAT DAWSON. Of course I had to listen to it.
To say too much of Lunar Park would be to give it away entirely, and to give it away would be to spoil the fun and make the novel sound profoundly stupid. Which it most definitely is not. It is a novel about novels, a meta-cognitive glimpse at storytelling and writing, one which you will enjoy if you like Ellis and hate if you don’t. Ellis’s first chapter is sheer genius—it’s a mock memoir of himself after the whirlwind fame of his early novels, which turns into a frenzy after American Psycho. The fake Ellis becomes a drug addict and hits rock bottom, only to find redemption in an old love with children in the suburbs. The new Bret Easton Ellis is trying to stay clean when a series of unsettling events threatens the very house in which he is established.
Lunar Park is an interesting hybrid of horror, memoir, and noir mystery. It’s also completely bananas, by the way. I found myself mystified and fascinated, gripped by the story that unfolded and twisted on itself. The commentary on American Psycho is absolutely incredible and should not be missed if you are a fan of that novel.
I will say, though, there is one scene I was not prepared for. I won’t spoil it, but it involves the family dog. My mouth was hanging open while I was stuck in a traffic jam on my commute home. Just be prepared, is what I’m saying.