Taking a trip to Lunar Park

By David Rauch

Bret Easton Ellis had a nightmare again. This time, though, it’s hard to tell where his dream ends and reality begins.

In his trademark, terrifyingly vivid style, Ellis revisits his past, inner demons, and in doing so, conjures up fantasies so evoking it’s difficult to discern them from his own experience.

Ellis doesn’t tell us a tale of horror, Ellis seems haunted. His amazing narration and dedication to nakedly exposing his life allows us to see Ellis as multifaceted: the narrator, the main character, the writer and the mystery.

He goes about the story like a memoir, letting his own personality ooze into every corner, blurring the distinction between his own life and the one he is creating. It may seem in ways that Ellis’ apparent cockiness and narcissism are “pretentious,” but these flaws eventually play into his character’s ultimate undoing. Ellis is nothing if not self aware, and through this deeply personal exploration of his own life, he seems almost to repent for the horror he inspired from his previous best-sellers. The feeling of this novel, while still gloomy, is more soulful and melancholy and, in a way, complete.

He tells a story about “himself,” a man with his past but a different present. It seems like Ellis is exploring what life would have been like if he made different choices – gotten married or maybe had a kid. But the intimate and heartbreaking way in which he goes about this hypothetical path is moving enough to make it seem as though it actually happened. His resurrected characters from other novels are important not only because of the thrilling element, but because they serve as the only link that any reader could have to Ellis’ actual mind. By the book’s end, Ellis seems to have reconciled with himself, and the anger and desperation seemed to be not only a definitive part of his novels, but part of his public persona. He has been traded for a more humbled, vulnerable face. This transformation results in his most effective type of horror yet, because it seems to be, on so many levels, real.