Students get inside look at new novel

Bret Easton Ellis, whose literary credentials include works such as Less Than Zero, American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction, stopped by the UM Bookstore on Friday to promote his new novel, Lunar Park. Ellis read a chapter from the novel, answered questions from students and signed copies of his books.

The bookstore filled up quickly as Ellis read portions of Lunar Park, some of them quite graphic and vivid. Students listened attentively and enjoyed food and drinks provided by the bookstore.

Ellis, whose past three novels have been adapted into films, was keen on answering students’ questions about his novels and the film adaptations that have followed.

“I liked [American Psycho],” he said. “It was a hard book to film. I thought it was pretty good.”

American Psycho stirred controversy in the months before its 1991 publication due to its graphic content, drawing protests from feminist organizations and prompting threats on his life. It has, since publication, achieved a loyal following, and eventually a 2000 movie adaptation was filmed, directed by Mary Herron and starring Christian Bale.

Despite the fact that Lunar Park’s protagonist is Bret Easton Ellis (see book review, page 11) and that the novel has been referred to as a memoir, Ellis said that his most autobiographical novel to date is American Psycho. He said that he views writing as a hobby more than a career and that he had the most fun writing Less Than Zero.

After the reading and Q&A session, students waited in line for a chance to have their copies of Ellis’ work signed.

“I like him a lot, I’m a pretty big fan,” Joe Pollard, junior, said. “The movies were OK, but the books are even better.”

“Interesting that he does stuff like [the signing], even though he’s not [always been] an author,” Tikku Sircar, junior, said. “He’s a charming fellow.”

The event attracted people from outside UM as well, including high school students and book aficionados.

“The guy’s a pretty hip writer,” Kevin Von Goor, a visitor, said. “It was pretty good, kind of intimate-no microphones or anything, which is cool.”

In an interview after the signing, Ellis said that he loved speaking in environments like the one on Friday.

“I had three or four universities on the tour, and I noticed that they were very much the best readings,” Ellis said. “They’ve been a very supportive crowd.”

His previous tours have included stops in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C., Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Toronto. He is also scheduled to continue into Europe.

Ellis was born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, and released his first novel, Less Than Zero, in 1985. In addition to American Psycho, Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction, Ellis has also written The Informers and Glamorama, the latter of which is slated for a film adaptation. Lunar Park, a semi-autobiographical story, is already on bestseller lists.

Jay Rooney can be contacted at