Reviews of Glamorama (1998)
Review by lambert (2006-08-06)
After picking this book up in hardback form in a second-hand bookshop, I finished this book realising just how fortunate I was to pick this up by chance. This book essentially leaves you with the impression of the insane, disturbing, maddening, bizarre, disgusting, hysterically funny, tragic, violent, self indulgent, depraved and ultimately low depths of the late 20th and early 21st century.
In fundamental terms: This novel is one of the finest satires of our age.
Nothing, in my opinion, has come closer to understanding the age of celebrity obsessed of ours. With its dark humour and terrifying violence, Bret Easton Ellis has created world that is an undeniable reflection of our own popular culture.
Itís satire bites like an Rottweiler on speed, constantly tearing through the absurdities of modern times. Itís a kind of intelligent satire not done often enough. Through itís characters, mainly the insufferable Victor Ward (model/actor/musician/idiot), Ellis squeezes every inch of humour and wit to be got from this edge of humanity. Victor is a character which is more recognisable today than ever. His ignorance of greater values, his obsession with being coolest man on the planet, his insatiable appetite for women (and men) and his cringe making, paper tearing, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard idiotic remarks make him a true creation of the contemporary age.
But Ellis looks further than the modelling scene and brings in the element of terrorism, which brings the novel into a whole different level. His observation of terrorists being just as egocentric as fashion models is a stroke of genius. It may not have seemed so in 1998, but in a post-911 world itís a view that can change your perceptions on the world political stage.
His prose is bleak, beautiful and stunning subtle as well as many other things. Dialogue crackles with the depth of the characters he has created. The plot is tight with little digression and on the whole the novel seems very much complete.
All in all, itís genius.
Review by drache_gnar (2006-07-13)
Glamorama is the fourth novel from Bret Easton Ellis, my favorite author of all time. This novel is by far his longest and is, in turn, his hardest to get through. I put it down a few times when the plot seemed to be goign nowhere and I often lost interest even though the writing is amazing and the characters, especially Victor Ward, are very attractive (no pun intended).
I am glad that I toughed through the tedium, as Glamorama REALLY is a great and powerful book. The detail is astounding and Ellis' poetic ways of describing carnage always make me fell as if I'm really there (this novel contains the least amount of trademark Ellis 'no emotion, matter of fact' prose while describing grizzly scenes which may or may not be attractive to you.)
Glamorama has BEE's best writing, however I think he could have cut A LOT of the scenes from this one, or at least removed a couple of the million subplots that don't really go anywhere (but maybe that was his point?)
Overall, a great, but hard, read.