The Rules of Attraction Paperback – 2006
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In "The Rules of Attraction", Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian Camden College, a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s. He treats their sexual posturings and agonies with a mixture of acrid hilarity and compassion while exposing the moral vacuum at the centre of their lives. Racing from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World, this is a poignant take on the death of romance. "Inspired. A wonderfully comic novel." - Gore Vidal. "Compelling...sympathetic to his "lost generation" the way only Fitzgerald was about his." - "Vanity Fair." "One of the primary inside sources in upper-middle-class America's continuing investigation of what has happened to its children." - "New York Times." "Ellis has always been regarded as the bad boy of contemporary American letters." - Douglas Kennedy. "A tour of the heart of darkness, a moral armageddon." - "The Times."
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Top Customer Reviews
Structurally, the book may come off as slightly sophomoric because of its position in Ellis' oeuvre, but the devices of radical subjectivity employed do all arguably add to the pluralistic ideological protagonism Ellis manages to achieve. The plot follows the romantistic relations of a few of the disaffected students of the elite liberal-arts Camden College in New Hampshire with some original linkage of linguistic and sexual confusion, and also substantially Less than Zero. All Ellis' work is ultimately salient if only in his capture of the dearth and excess of emotional energy his characters exquisitely possess.
Ellis's style in this novel is very mainstream considering his other work; The Rules of Attraction is a product of many of his literary influences with a sprinkling of his own creation. It is told by several narrators, not only the three main characters but also several secondary characters and there are even a few passages where the narrator is unidentified. This smells heavily of Faulkner, but Ellis makes it unique by including interesting and often symbolic details and having inconsistent narrations (i.e. one character will describe an event differently from another character).
There is no real plot in The Rules of Attraction; it is a series of narrated episodes that have a cumulative effect. We see relationships grow and ebb, death, and young people groping for meaning or even anything tangible in their lives. Most of the characters are filled with a sense of hopelessness. It's not that they don't care; they don't know how to care. The characters live in a moral vacuum where everything in ambiguous.
By the end of the novel, you may feel sick to your stomach with this emptiness. But that's the point. Ellis wants us to realize that people cannot live happy lives by emulating the students of Camden College. Sean, Paul and Lauren are the result when you lose touch with reality.
Most recent customer reviews
Another winner by Ellis. I loved the journal format, really kept me reading. The characters were great, just as empty and superficial as all the so called "friends" I've... Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2013 by Violet
As with all of Ellis' books, save for American Psycho, 'The Rules of Attraction' is filled with good and interesting writing (stream of consciousness this time around)and little to... Read morePublished on Dec 14 2007 by Benjamin Anderson
this book isn't for everybody but I thought it was awesome. ROA does a great job of showing life from the point of view of everyone involved just like in real life. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Michael Allen Miller
Then, Paul, Lauren, Victor, etc...
Following in the footsteps of 'Less Than Zero', Ellis brings us to another dark area, college. Read more
This book is good, for an undergrad. You can plainly see when you read Ellis' later work the progress that he made. It does have traces of feeling, but it's a bit strained. Read morePublished on May 11 2004 by Rich
The first book i read by Bret Easton Ellis was American Psycho, although shocked by the violence, i loved his dark humour. Read morePublished on April 27 2004