Monday, 12 April 2010

"Action Unites. Words Divide."

I finally finished Glamorama, by Bret Easton Ellis. It was absolutely...pointless. I adored it, I really did. It was classic Ellis: gripping, hilarious, truly nauseating at times, and absolutely beautifully written, but there was no ending.

Usually I hate novels like Ellis writes; pretentious books written to be analyzed and criticised. But he writes them in such a charming and (I hate the word, but) edgy way, and with such flourishes of complete and utter genius that I fall in love every time. Glamorama was entirely as funny and sarcastic as his previous novels that I have read, and (quite surprisingly) there was a semblance of a plot in there, rather than just a series of events occurring and interlapping. It would have been a novel of literary perfection if only the end had not been so frustrating.

Despite the fact that he's an absolute wimp, I like Victor Ward/Johnson, the leading protagonist. There was slightly more inside him to connect to than with say Clay in Less Than Zero (although incidentally I adore him, too). Victor is funny. You forgive him his ridiculous vanity and culture obsessions because he seems so
unaware. And when he realises that everything he lives for is bullshit, he tries to move on. So yeah, I sort of became attached to him. I wanted an ending. I wanted answers.

But no. Ellis doesn't write to give answers. He doesn't even write towards an answer. There seems to be no logical conclusion to his writing. I suspect that this is part of his genius; it really leaves you craving more. I cannot decide whether Ellis writes for his characters or for the story. Possibly both. Probably neither.

Glamorama is an exceptional book. It is, I think, a very honest novel (particularly when you consider the circles that Ellis himself has spent time in). I'm almost sad that I've finished it because I enjoyed reading it so much (despite the constant headache I had from frowning so much in confusion).

So if you want to see where they blatantly stole the idea for Zoolander from, read it.
If you want something to really think about, read it. If you want a novel with clues and answers and a nice round ending, go and read Harry Potter, you pussy.

A few of my favourite Glamorama quotes:

- Even though we've never met she looks eerily familiar, as if we've known her forever.

- "JD, I'm in the middle of becoming some kind of brooding god," I groan.

- "Hey baby, we're all in this together," I grunt, my hands dusted with chalk. "Yeah, I wanna give this all up and feed the homeless. I wanna give all this up and teach orangutans sign language. I'm gonna bike around the countryside with my sketchbook. I'm gonna - what? Help improve race relations in this country? Run for fucking president? Read my lips: Spare me."

- "Dad, life is tacky."

- "Everyone here is"

- ...and above me the morning sky is white and I'm thinking. Stay indoors, go to sleep, don't get involved, view everything without expression, drink whiskey, pose, accept.

- Silence, empty and graceless. I'm staring at them, unable to take all this in because of certain details my mind cannot accept, and that lack of importance is spreading and I'm looking at this through a window and it's being boarded up and it's night and no one has said or is going to say who they really are.

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