If I was to describe the work of Brett Easton Ellis is one word it would be Marmite. Now, I love his work, I think that he is not only a phenomenal writer but an important one as well. His writing and his persona have been criticised for decades and he remains and probably will remain a controversial figure for many years to come.
Ellis was considered a literary prodigy after his first book, Less Than Zero, was published in the 80’s. Since then he has maintained a Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle, drugs, drinking and sex become part of his public Id. For me, Lunar Park broke the mould and formula of Ellis’ distinct style. In a good way, I hasten to add.
Lunar Park tells the story of Brett Easton Ellis who lives with his wife, Jayne Dennis and their two children, in affluent suburbs of L.A. Told as a fictional memoir, Ellis parodies his lifestyle i.e. his drug taking and alcoholism, with a plot that transcends from the borderline believable to the supernatural and downright haunting. The novel was marketed in a unique, guerrilla-esque way, with a fake tabloid website being made, advertising and documenting Ellis’ and Dennis’ relationship. Jayne Dennis being another creation. Ellis, in a later interview, stated that Lunar Park was also a love letter to Stephen King. In case it wasn’t apparent already, I also love the work of Stephen King. Surely then Lunar Park should be one of my favourite books? Well, it is.
Lunar Park is so much more than a twisting, confusing, minimalist novel of Brett Easton Ellis. Have you ever read a book wherein you feel as if the author is bearing their soul to you? I realise that is incredibly corny, but that is the only true and substantial way I can describe Lunar Park. We gain an insight into the true nature of Ellis. His take on his substance abuse, failed love and relationships with family. The theme of fatherhood and being a patriarch of a family is an overriding presence that is eventually the driving force behind the main plot.
Now I recommend Lunar Park for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it quashes any preconceived negative feelings virgin Brett Easton Ellis readers could have. You would’ve heard of American Psycho, even if you’ve never read it. You will be aware that Ellis has been likened to the protagonist, Patrick Bateman, and heard him called every name under the sun. “Misogynist” is a common favourite. Lunar Park shows a sensitive side to the man, a human side and is moving and heart-felt with an ending that will tug on all your emotional strings. That, and it is also the most accessible from a literary perspective. Anyone could pick up, read and enjoy Lunar Park. Ellis’ writing style can be complex and, at times, confusing. After Lunar Park, I can almost guarantee you will want to read the rest of his work. I hope you do. Brett Easton Ellis is a fantastic writer and I believe that Lunar Park is a gateway into a whole new world of literary enjoyment.