Less Than Zero, The Rules Of Attraction, American Psycho, Glamorama, Lunar Park, Imperial Bedrooms – following six acclaimed yet notorious novels, and the constant promised of a seventh, plus the short story collection The Informers, Los Angeles-based writer Bret Easton Ellis is back, but this time he’s gone down the non-fiction route.
Almost 35 years on since his debut hit the shelves in 1985 when he was just 21, and nine years since the same imploding characters were revisited, this time as they face middle age, Ellis approaches disenchantment and self-deception again, except this time it’s without the scaffold of make-believe. Entitled White, the new book – out on Picador and described by The Bookseller as a polemic – is a series of thematically related essays, each looking at our contemporary moment, delving into the distortions that Ellis discerns in our digital-dependent society.
‘Passionate, irreverent and hilarious’, ‘provocative, incisive, funny and surprisingly poignant’ – make up your own mind after Bret Easton Ellis speaks about and reads from new book White
In an interview with the TLS, Ellis calls the book ‘a lament from a disillusioned Gen X-er’ while his publisher Picador goes a little further, reckoning that the author ‘puts himself and his opinions on the page: eviscerating the perceived good of the social-media age, the cult of likeability and the reputation economy; denouncing censorship and defending freedom of speech; and explaining how growing up as a nihilistic Gen X-er made him who he is today.’
Since you’re asking, a quick root around Google defines Generation X – a term coined by Douglas Coupland in his 1991 novel – as ‘the generation born after that of the baby boomers (roughly from the early 1960s to late 1970s), typically perceived to be disaffected and directionless’.
White has so far been called ‘passionate, irreverent and hilarious’ and ‘provocative, incisive, funny and surprisingly poignant’ – make up your own mind after Ellis speaks about and reads from his work. In association with Waterstones, this is his first UK event of the year, part of a major publicity tour, so come armed with suitable questions.