20 Bad Books By Good Authors

Glamorama

Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Released: 1998

There's nothing worse than waiting years for your favorite artist to drop a new masterpiece, only to be let down by a work that is well below the level you were expecting. We devoured Less Than ZeroThe Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, and The Informers, and the rumors about Glamorama—that it was like all of those books rolled in to one but with super models and a terrorism plot—had us dumb excited.

Ellis is one of our best transgressive writers, a shameless satirist with a deadpan style that makes his work that much more unnerving. He was just 21 when he wrote Less Than Zero, a book that picked apart the wasted youth of Los Angeles' upper crust, and six years later, in 1991, American Psycho came along and changed the way I will forever see chainsaws. But Glamorama adds nothing to the twisted world Ellis created with Patrick Bateman and the cast of characters from his other books, and it fails to say much of anything, really.

From Daniel Mendelsohn's New York Times review:

"American Psycho,'' after all, was a bloated, stultifyingly repetitive, overhyped novel about a fabulously good-looking and expensively dressed Wall Street sociopath who tortures and dismembers beautiful young women, whereas ''Glamorama,'' as anyone can see, is a bloated, stultifyingly repetitive, overhyped book about an entire gang of fabulously good-looking and expensively dressed sociopaths who torture and dismember both women and men—and lots of them. 

Ouch. Turns out Ellis was stumped working on his next great book, Lunar Park—a weird postmodern ghost story featuring the author as the protagonist—and he knocked this dud out in the meantime. His loyalists will tell you that it's a masterful piece of parody, but it's actually boring and tedious and simply not as good as his other books. —Noah Johnson

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