The Shards, Bret Easton Ellis
The latest book from Ellis came out last month. Bret plays himself in this fictional tale of growing up privileged and attending a private school (Buckley Academy) in LA circa 1981. Senior year and life are supposed to be all fine when you have wealth, an unlimited supply of drugs, good-looking friends, no rules, and parents who are never home to supervise. This book is along the lines of Less Than Zero – his book that was published in real life when Bret was 21. The Shards is based on fiction lightly peppered with facts about Bret’s life and the life of his friends during that decade in LA. It’s 600 pages, 300 of which are probably not needed for the story to be just as impactful, yet I found myself wanting that deep description of daily life in there, so I guess it depends on your state of patience. I like Verite-type documentaries, and this is just that in book form… if that makes any sense. This book is about teenagers and their imaginations laced with large quantities of daily drug taking. What they think and what actually is fact. We’re all actors in a play called life, and as the narrator looks back on his teenage life this is his MO. Following the rules of the dream rather than the reality of situations. It’s obsessions, love, desperate desire, rejection, sex, violence, and longing for real and lasting love that for many of us may never be attained. It’s about unresolved past, and how memories can haunt you as love and dreams can. It took Ellis over 40 years to finally sit down and write this GenX/thriller and for me, his best work yet.