Bret Easton Ellis’s debut, Less Than Zero, is one of the signal novels of the last thirty years; his new novel, Imperial Bedrooms, follows those infamous teenagers into an even more desperate middle age.
From his Q & A with Jesse Pearson for the Independent:
My current conception of LA started in some ways with your novel Less Than Zero. Part of what makes LA so weird is the palpable sense of desperation in the air. A lot of young people who want to make it.--Marshal Zeringue
Oh, totally. You come here and the odds are overwhelmingly against you, but you do it anyway. And you know what? I think that – and I've said this before – but I think that LA forces you to become the person you really are. I don't think LA is a place where you're allowed to reinvent yourself. It absolutely isn't. There's an isolating quality to a life lived out here. I don't care how many friends you have. I don't care if you have a relationship. Whatever. It's an isolating city. You're alone a lot. It doesn't allow you to hide.
In Imperial Bedrooms, Rain, the young actress character, propositions Clay, who's now a successful screenwriter. Is it really like that sometimes, with a wannabe actor propositioning a writer or a producer?
Listen, I'm sure it can be. What I was thinking about when I was working on the novel was: what is the central narrative myth of Hollywood? And it revolves around exploitation. People exploiting each other. I'd been exploited myself, and I think people thought that I might have exploited them or whatever. So as the novel was coming together in my head and then in outline, that became the thing that was interesting to me. And at some varying levels, yeah, I've experienced it. But I ...[read on]