Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Recently sold a 1st ed of American psycho on ebay for £30

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catalog

Well-known member
I was getting rid of a load of stuff and thought i would never read it again, despite enjoying it. Was surprised to see that it is doing well on the second hand market (not that i know much about how that operates, but i sold a few other vaguely famous things and they were all a lot cheaper).

I always love the bit in it where he gets the urinal cake from the toilets and has it covered in chocolate, gives it his bird saying its from some chichi chocalatier. Cos he has the box i think, and she loves it, eats it down, says she cant believe how nice i5 is. Always thought that was very delicious bit of prose.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
American Psycho is misunderstood and curiously underrated, for the reasons Padraig succinctly points out and others too. The film was interesting because it is basically an un-filmable book, as the film kind of makes clear: to depict the events in it on screen is in some way to decide if and how they happened, whether or how far they are real or fantastic. You can deduce this in the book, without ever having to be told or anything having to be definitive because of the narrative voice, which controls the reality presented.

Blah, blah, blah, but it is an endlessly fascinating trick that Ellis pulled off. He should've stopped after it, and never written another book. Those first two are perfect and provide everything he ever had to offer.
 
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catalog

Well-known member
I did try one of the others, rules of attraction I think, cos I enjoyed the film, but it was terrible, didn't finish it
 

version

Well-known member
I remember feeling it was too long and became a bit of a slog in a way Less than Zero didn't. You can argue that's by design, but I'm still wrestling with the idea of intentionally boring writing, e.g. Wallace's The Pale King, as it's "clever" but I don't want to read a boring book.

One thing I've always found strange about the film is "Price" being renamed "Bryce"...
 

version

Well-known member
I'm not sure what happened with the LtZ film. It's got something about it and I love the soundtrack, but it's nothing like the book.

 

craner

Beast of Burden
I remember feeling it was too long and became a bit of a slog in a way Less than Zero didn't. You can argue that's by design, but I'm still wrestling with the idea of intentionally boring writing, e.g. Wallace's The Pale King, as it's "clever" but I don't want to read a boring book.

One thing I've always found strange about the film is "Price" being renamed "Bryce"...

Probably was a bit too long, but only in the way that Catch-22 and Something Happened are too long. They are all good enough to live with that flaw.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I always love the bit in it where he gets the urinal cake from the toilets and has it covered in chocolate, gives it his bird saying its from some chichi chocalatier. Cos he has the box i think, and she loves it, eats it down, says she cant believe how nice i5 is. Always thought that was very delicious bit of prose.

One of my favourite scenes too. I think just before that, while he's taking a piss, he stares into a tiny crack in the wall and imagines himself collapsing into subatomic dimensions and being sucked into the crack, and it occurs to him that everyone he knows would be like "Where's Bateman?" for two minutes and then carry on their lives as if he'd never been born at all. It might be his only bit of genuine introspection in the whole book.

Have I remembered that more or less right?
 

version

Well-known member
“I stare into a thin, web-like crack above the urinal's handle and think to myself that if I were to disappear into that crack, say somehow miniaturize and slip into it, the odds are good that no one would notice I was gone. No... one... would... care. In fact some, if they noticed my absence, might feel an odd, indefinable sense of relief. This is true: the world is better off with some people gone. Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.”
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Probably was a bit too long, but only in the way that Catch-22 and Something Happened are too long. They are all good enough to live with that flaw. "

Diceman is the best example of this I think.... every time I read it I think "How did I get bored by the end?" but by the end I always know the answer.
 

catalog

Well-known member
On a related tip to BEE, has anyone read Donna Tartt? They were at college together and mates I think. I've never read her, but heard she's good, she's vaguely on the list. There was an article about their college days I had bookmarked for a while but never properly read. Also he's doing a podcast these days, I listened to the one about once upon a time in Hollywood, he's very earnest and he does the same personalised promo stuff that joe rogan does, which is pretty funny, but so irritating you can't listen.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
it is basically an un-filmable book, as the film kind of makes clear: to depict the events in it on screen is in some way to decide if and how they happened, whether or how far they are real or fantastic
I think the film is about as good an attempt as can be made at adapting what is, as you say, an essentially unfilmable text

the film has far more - I guess by necessity, functional and/or commercial - of a narrative structure, whereas the book is more like a diary

I mean sure, Paul Owen, the denouement with the lawyer, but really it's just a year in the life of Bateman

and life, between birth and death, doesn't begin or end, it's just a bunch of stuff that happens and how you feel about it

tho simultaneously it has a kind of mythic superstructure - a catabasis, the (anti)hero's descent into the underworld (i.e. madness etc)

so the opening line is literally Dante "abandon hope all ye who enter here" and the ending line is as noted paraphrased (intentionally or not) Sartre

anyway - sorry I get sidetracked - what the film really nails, I think, is the feeling of the book, the bitter/brittle/vicious edge underneath the richness
 

version

Well-known member
I might reread it. I've got a copy here and I've just finished my current read -- seems as good a time as any.
 

version

Well-known member
I've seen a fair bit of talk re: the film being written and directed by women resulting in the apparent misogyny of the book being undercut and the ridiculous masculinity being emphasised, but I can't remember the book well enough to agree or disagree.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
another thing American Psycho puts me in mind, and another literary favorite, are the Icelandic sagas

in a couple senses - firstly that they also feature characters devoid of internal dialogue, so that thoughts/feelings must be discerned from actions and interactions

admittedly Bateman is closer to the protagonist of The Stranger in that his internal dialogue is sublimated/suppressed rather than nonexistent

of course it when does thru it's possibly the most actually terrifying, rather than blackly comedic, parts of the book - "there is simply...no one there"

another sense is that the sagas often feature interminably long lists or passages of names, genealogy, people's achievements, not totally unlike the Old Testament

like the lists of clothing, food, etc they serve to fix characters in place, as a counterpoint to the narrative of events, etc
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I've seen a fair bit of talk re: the film being written and directed by women resulting in the apparent misogyny of the book being undercut and the ridiculous masculinity being emphasised, but I can't remember the book well enough to agree or disagree.
I don't think that's entirely untrue, tho I think the book is already a vicious satire of that kind of performative masculinity

the film being written/directed by women may have helped to foreground that or make the observations acute in different ways

it's also partly down to the different mediums I think, some of that just comes across better visually - the business card as dick size scene for example
 

version

Well-known member
I've noticed people seem to "remember" or characterise the book as being relentlessly violent when I don't think there are actually that many violent scenes in it... ?
 

version

Well-known member
I'm pulling up quotes from it atm and I don't remember this one at all,

“Where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s own taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire- meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface, was all that anyone found meaning in…this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged…”
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
couple of my favorite scenes in the book not in the film - Bateman meeting up with an old gf for lunch, the incredibly Tom Cruise elevator encounter

the Cruise thing purely for amusement i.e. "I thought you were very fine in Bartender"

the old girlfriend scene is important tho cos she knew him at college before he had constructed his Wall Street persona

she's easily able to puncture much of his nonsense, and it's basically the only instance where someone other than Bateman gives an insight into him

(the inevitable resulting murder is as tedious as the rest of them, of course)
 
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