Friday, 13 October 2006

Lunar Park bookcover; PicadorReview: Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis (2005)

In the chilled suburbia of his middle age, Bret Ellis is confronted by a resurgent past. A number of strange things have started up, while he fights lethargically against his wife's irritation, his son's intransigence, and his step-daughter's crazy communing with spirits. Her doll, Turby, he is convinced, is a deranged psychopath on the loose: eviscerating small creatures, leaving slimy deposits on her bed, and frightening the bejeesus out of him.

A number of young boys have gone missing.

The police visit him, revealing a strange pattern: the recent murders are copycat crimes that follow the destruction unleashed in the novel he published twenty years earlier: American Psycho.

Shades of his hated father appear: a beige Mercedes that pops up at odd moments, a young man who looks the spitting image of Patrick Bateman, the psychopathic killer of his old novel.

Bret is quiety unravelling.

Postmodernism is supposed to be a dirty word nowadays, at least if we are to believe the federal Government. Ellis has worked his way into the guts of the postmodern aura and has nestled there, grinning, with this book. A slightly dead feeling militates against the gothic horror story that he creates, and that sends chills down your arms. Lunar Park is alternately chilling and bewildering, confusing the role of author and main character, and apparently saying something about how we are reflections of our pasts. Bret's past catches up with him big time, and in the ensuing maelstrom of special effects and eviscerations, we find a sort of peace.

An interesting novel, not for the faint-hearted.

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