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Lunar Park
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If there's ever a book with a split personality, that book is "Lunar Park."

In his fifth full-length novel, Bret Easton Ellis seems torn between writing a fictionalized memoir and a Stephen King horrorfest, complete with leaf beasties and ghastly bird dolls. He builds up a confusing if compelling storyline, only to have it spill into an unholy mess at the climax.

Bret Easton Ellis wrote a gloriously nihilistic novel called "Less than Zero," sparking off a bestselling career, drug addictions, and a hedonistic lifestyle. A few years later, he's wed to girlfriend Jayne, and living in dysfunctional tranquillity in the countryside with two kids. He's working on a new book, the perpetually pornographic "Teenage Pussy," and still doing lots of drugs with pal Jay McInerney.

Then weird things happen: A bird toy is killing animals. Bret's dad's grave appears. Monsters are invading his house. And a mysterious police inspector tells Bret that someone is emulating the gruesome murders from "American Psycho." And as he tries to keep his family safe, Bret finds that his own fiction is what is spawning all this horror.

"Lunar Park" is an intriguing self-exmination; I can only imagine what spurred Ellis to write it. It seems like an exorcism of the cynical, drug-dealing demons of excess that ran rampant throughout his novels. And in the world of "Lunar Park," those novels -- especially the controversial "American Psycho" -- have an influence on the real world, whether it's bringing horrors to life or inspiring a serial killer. It's a fascinating look at fiction vs. reality.

And despite the literary conceit of having himself as the lead character, Ellis' examination of his fiction is a thorough and brutal one. He even goes down to his writing style. The book opens with him looking back on his books, and noticing how the Spartan style of "Less Than Zero" evolved into babbly rambling. With this book, he's settled into a comfortable middle-of-the-road style.

Unfortunately, Ellis also gets locked into a Stephen King fantasy, complete with a see-it-a-mile-away plot twist right out of "Rear Window." He creates some genuinely chilling moments, such as when his alter ego starts seeing graves and monsters. But by turning all that good horror into self-examination, it loses most of its punch. And as the novel builds to its anticlimax, Ellis doesn't seem sure what to do with the plot threads he's woven together, like the disappearing boys.

Metafiction runs wild in "Lunar Park," a novel split between literary study and total horror. But Ellis seems to lose the grip on his plot, and it spins out of control like the book's events themselves.
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on October 29, 2012
Bret Easton Ellis exercises some of his own demons in Lunar Park. The story reads like a 'faux' autobiography which if you are a fan of Ellis or his works' nuances are easy to recognize. This book has everything that a reader would want in a Bret Easton Ellis book, satire and hyperbole deeply rooted in reality. All the segments with the Terby (Ferby) doll I found hilarious. But at the heart of the story is a cautionary tale about parenting. There is no measure of the negative impact that a careless parent can have on their kid. Ellis seems to recognize the vicious cycle that can be perpetuated by bad parenting and bring up his late father often. Lunar Park is eerie and entertaining. Ellis himself said the book is a homage to Stephen King, and it is not difficult to feel that tone throughout the book. The references to Ellis' actual life do not come across as pretentious but critical. If you enjoy Bret Easton Ellis, Stephen King or have an interest in a less than ordinary family life Lunar Park is for you. Please check out my novel Defenseless
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on March 23, 2007
Ah, the lost art of self-deprecation. Fans of Ellis will most likely enjoy LUNAR PARK. I also think, however, that fans of horror will also enjoy it a ton. Being a fan of both, I have to say this novel is probably my favorite of his. Its been a long time coming and, for me, it was more than worth the wait. I hope it hasn't been too late. Ellis's previous novels are disturbing, but they usually escape being categorized as horror. LUNAR PARK, despite its classification as literature, absolutely earns itself a place among the top works of horror. Interestingly, this is Ellis's least graphic and gruesome work. If you enjoyed books such as LESS THAN ZERO or the novel KATZENJAMMER by McCrae, then this will be right up your alley.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2006
Ah, the lost art of self-deprecation. Fans of Ellis will most likely enjoy LUNAR PARK. I also think, however, that fans of horror will also enjoy it a ton. Being a fan of both, I have to say this novel is probably my favorite of his. Its been a long time coming and, for me, it was more than worth the wait. I hope it hasn't been too late. Ellis's previous novels are disturbing, but they usually escape being categorized as horror. LUNAR PARK, despite its classification as literature, absolutely earns itself a place among the top works of horror. Interestingly, this is Ellis's least graphic and gruesome work. If you enjoyed books such as LESS THAN ZERO or the novel KATZENJAMMER by McCrae, then this will be right up your alley.
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