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Book Review: Lunar Park (published 2005) by Bret Easton Ellis

Book+Review%3A+Lunar+Park+%28published+2005%29+by+Bret+Easton+Ellis

I’m going to say it out of the gate, this book is amazing, truly, really amazing. I would consider this book the culmination of everything Ellis had written previously, his masterpiece. I first became interested in this book when I heard one of my favorite albums, Fear of A Blank Planet, by a group called Porcupine Tree was loosely based on the events of the novel. I was gifted this book for Christmas and set about reading it as soon as I could. My excitement was rewarded, this book was amazing! I can’t stress it enough how good this book is. It draws a perfect balance between Stephen King-esque horror and the darkly satirical writing of Ellis. This book is a must have for fans of both authors.

Now to discuss what this book is about. The story of this book is presented as truth, as real-life Bret Easton Ellis writing a real-life memoir about real life events. Of course, this book is fiction, nothing really happened in real life, but it is this illusion of reality that gives this novel a deep sense of atmosphere and tension, as if you broke into Ellis’ house and began flipping through his private diary. And it is that, this sense of personalness, the rawness of this book that propels it into masterpiece category, that makes it a book that will be permanently etched into the folds of your brain. It is with lie, that everything is true, that the book opens. The first 50 or so pages is Ellis recounting a particularly debaucherous book tour for his novel Glamorama (which is real, I might add). After realizing that the drugs and the alcohol and the stardom are catching up to him, he decides to slow his life down, and marry a forlorn love of his, named Jayne (she is also famous, another rich movie star among the countless Ellis meets). He moves in with Jayne, as well as her daughter (from another father), and her son Robby (Ellis’ child, of course not in real life). They live together as a family unit in a rich suburb on the East Coast, where Ellis teaches a writing course at a local college.

This sense of calmness is soon disturbed, as around 3 months after Ellis moving in, a strange, perhaps supernatural, series of events begins to occur. Lights flickering, his daughter’s Furby knockoff (It’s called a Terby in the book) moving on its own, furniture being rearranged, mysterious emails being sent at an exact time every night. While it may not seem like it, this book is a ghost story, a particularly personal and touching one. I think this book nails the ethos of what a ghost should be, a lost soul, someone who left something behind, or has a message to carry. The book slowly reveals who the ghost may be (I won’t spoil it here), and the final outcome is sure to leave you teary-eyed.

All in all, read this book. This isn’t one you can skip out on (if you do, you’ll become a ghost with unfinished business!). A true masterpiece that balances pulpy horror, ingeniously written drama, and depressing political and social satire. Bret Easton Ellis wrote his masterpiece with Lunar Park, and hopefully he can write another book that reaches its heights soon. Before you read this book though, I highly suggest you read his previous novel, the infamous American Psycho. If you read it beforehand, some important context will be filled in for you and make reading Lunar Park a better experience overall (not to mention that this book contains spoilers for American Psycho!). Read this book, please. A truly touching human drama with a perfect dichotomy of horror and heart. Lunar Park may be the greatest work of literature for the post-modern age.

 

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