Thursday, February 5, 2009

#4: Lunar Park by Brett Easton Ellis

Hallucinogenic hybrid of horror, family drama, and quasi-autobiography, Lunar Park features bad boy writer Brett Easton Ellis (author of the controversial American Psycho) deciding to settle down with his movie-star wife and his (previously unclaimed) son in suburbia, only to find their house haunted and their family life deteriorating.

Reviews of Lunar Park were polarized, with some critics hating it and some loving it. I fell in the latter category, but recognize that it might not be for all tastes. There are elements of tell-all, with real people and situations depicted; but there is also skin-crawling horror, with ghosts and demons and the like popping out of the woodwork. Fellow Brat Pack writer Jay McInerney appears, and is a real person; but Ellis' wife and son aren't. The fictional killer from American Psycho appears to be on the loose as well. But real emotions, of relations between fathers and sons, of failures and regret, all ring true.

And, most surprisingly, Ellis casts himself as a weaselly a-hole throughout. The idea of the "unreliable narrator" takes on real resonance here; especially late in the book, when the continuous horrors finally causes Ellis to split into two characters, one he calls "The Author." I enjoy this type of meta storytelling and thought it was well-crafted.

Overall Lunar Park is a confounding book, but--knowing little about Ellis and having not been exposed to his previous work--I could enjoy it on its own merits. Another early front-runner in my favorites column for 2009.

I read this on a very good audio book recorded by James Van Der Beek, given to me by a friend.

1 comment:

  1. I recently picked up a copy of Ellis's American Psycho. I hope to review it as one of my 50 reads.