I found a reasonably nice copy of Brett Easton Ellis’s Lunar Park in a second hand bookshop in McLeod Ganj and devoured it in a couple of days. I read Less Than Zero nearly twenty years ago when i was in university or maybe high-school (I forget) and wasnt terribly impressed then. I didnt have a lot of patience for sexually ambiguous, self-centered, drug-addled and terribly lost hedonistic youth back then. When American Psycho was released to much controversy, I stayed away from it. I figured there was no point spending hard earned cash on much more of the same-ish.
Anyway, I read the first couple of pages of Lunar Park in the bookshop and promptly bought it. The jaded burnt out voice, the ironic humour, the hint of hard-earned wisdom, all of it was too tempting especially given that I’ve been reading mostly buddhist texts the last month or so.
It’s a long metaphor of a book in many ways about the past affecting the present and destroying the future. Ellis’s character is literally haunted by the demons of his childhood. They are so potent that his present house in which he is trying to create some semblence of family life is slowly transformed into his old home, the scene of many conflicts between himself and his father. The haunting also destroys the relationship he has with his own son, blocking all attempts he makes in the end to reach out. The horror is reasonably effective in showing Ellis’s lack of control over the situation and his own helpless awareness and fascination of the destruction that is occurring.
The final chapter however is astonishingly lyrical and moving. In it, Ellis says farewell to his father, achieving a form of reconciliation with his past while at the same time, he lets go of his own son, accepting that in the end sons have to make their own way and that fathers may never understand why.
Anyway, I’ve downloaded a copy of less than zero and american psycho to pop onto my pda. Time for a reassessment of this man’s work.