A man in what is recognizably New York is drawn into a shadowy looking-glass of that society and then finds himself trapped on the other side, in a much darker place where fame and terrorism, and family and politics, are inextricably linked and sometimes indistinguishable.
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Glamorama is a satirical mass-murder opus more ambitious than Bret Easton Ellis's 1990 American Psycho. It starts as a spritz-of-consciousness romp about kid-club entrepreneur Victor Ward, "the It boy of the moment," an actor-model up for Flatliners II. Ellis has perfect pitch for glam-speak, and he gives nightlife the fizz, pace, and shimmer it lacks in drab reality. Anyone could cite the right celeb names and tunes, but like a rock-polishing machine, his prose gives literary sheen to fame-chasing air-kissers. He's coldly funny: when Victor's girl tries to argue him out of a breakup, she angrily snorts six bumps of coke, stops, mutters, "Wrong vial," snorts four corrective doses from whatever she has in her other fist, then objects to a rival at the party wearing the same dress she's wearing.
You had to be there; Ellis makes you feel you are. But such satire is a very smart bomb targeting a very large barn. Models' status anxiety doesn't merit Ellis's Tom Wolfe-esque expertise. Glamorama gets better when Victor gets drafted into a mysterious group of model-terrorists who bomb 747s and the Ritz in Paris, wearing Kevlar-lined Armani suits. Oh, they still behave like shallow snobs, pronouncing "cool" as if it had 12 o's. But now when somebody swills Cristal, it's apt to be poisoned, to horrific effect, which Ellis expertly, affectlessly describes. His enfant-terrible debut, Less Than Zero, aped Joan Didion. Now Ellis has grown into a lesser Don DeLillo--and that's high praise. --Tim AppeloFrom the Publisher:
"His best work to date...He remains a laser-precise satirist, but the wit now dominates."
--Matt Seaton, Esquire
"Gets under the skin of our celebrity culture in a way that is both illuminating & frightening"
--Michael Shelden, Daily Telegraph, London
"One of the passing delights of Glamorama is to imagine how scholars of postmodern fiction
will explain it a century hence...Ellis invents a fresh hell on every page...[And] through all this mayhem the style remains mysteriously elegant"
--Alex Ross, The New Yorker
"An affirmation inside a horror story...A big collection of paradoxes: of truth and lies, of beauty and fear, of principle and depravity...A master stylist with hideously interesting new-fangled manners and the heart of an old-fashioned moralist."
--Andrew Morton, The Observer, London
"A comic and frightening story...A plotline that arcs and undulates...The pleasures of a celebrity-worshipping narrative overlaying a violent, chilling and, in the style of Ballard, instructive plot"
--Adam Mazmanian, Newsday
"An express-train ride,in my mind, to hell...It does for the cold, minimal 90's what American
Psycho did for the Wall Street greed of the 80's. You name it, he manages to get it all in."
--Andre´ Leon Talley, Vogue
"His impeccable portrait of high-living mannequins exudes a glamour...cold and pitiless and modern...He captures a cultural moment of radical dandyhood, when distinctions of sexuality seem less important than whether you look like a model and wear Prada."
--Rhonda Lieberman, Village Voice
"Slowly and ominously, a new voice emerges from Ellis: This is a political thriller bursting with conspiracies, double agents and international terrorists...Compelling and scary while managing at the same time to take our peculiar obsession with celebrity and literally blow it to pieces. A bonfire of the vanities? Glamorama is more like a Semtex attack on our superficialities."
--Simmy Richmond, The Face, London
"Hilariously brittle pop-culture references fly by...Ellis' hypnotically perfect prose is able to incorporate just about any convention he puts his mind to."
--Dennis Cooper, Spin
"By far his most ambitious work"
--Jared Paul Stern, Detour
"A mixture of outrage and farce that connects the jet set to terrorist acts...and which feels strangely authentic"
--Christopher Lawrence, Bookpage
"An inspired satire"
--James Patrick Herman, Elle
"You are invited to the opening of an american masterpiece. Rsvp pdq."
--Brian Morton, Scotland on Sunday
"Superb . . . courses with energy and intelligence even as it retains the vacuity of it all."
--Bruce Hainley, Bookforum
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