BRETT EASTON ELLIS - AMERICAN PSYCHO 1991 Picador Books -
One of the most violent and controversial crime story novels ever written, and later made into a dull, somewhat diluted movie, but they could never dare include much that is given in the book. It is the story, in his own words of Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street tycoon wheeler dealer with a fascination for designer credit cards, Armani Suits, Hard-Bodied sex, money, power, popular culture, rape and murder. Bateman casually mentions his murderous tendencies in the same casual way he discusses other interests in life. He writes essays on the music of Phil Collins and Whitney Houston (Much to the offence in real life of the singers). He also beats beggars to death, breaks a dogís legs and casually butchers the prostitutes he has paid for the night. Bateman goes to the deep freeze and wonders which frozen female set of genitals to wear as he walks round the house before other screaming victims. The trouble with all of this is that it might or might not be really happening in his life. He may just have a warped imagination, but no desire to actually kill anyone. He is starting to blur the boundaries between realities and fantasy though. He confesses to killing a man who is still very much alive. Has he killed the wrong man, or only imagined killing anyone? A deranged taxi driver who really is a killer kidnaps Bateman, but Bateman does nothing to the man, and goes about his business. This is a chilling look at how the darkest psychosis lies in the mind even of the most rich and successful. Bateman is only powerful in his own mind. Without his killing dreams he is empty amidst the suits, and business cards, as are we all; such is Easton-Ellisís message to America. The violence when described is often deeply disturbing and quite brilliant.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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