Thursday, 6 October 2011

American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis:

American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

The Yuppie culture … they put the consume in consumerism and the self in selfish. Set in New York, during the 1980s, this story shines a powerful light on the pretentiousness and excess of that era. It was an age when greed was deemed to be great, women’s cheeks were smeared with garish blusher and their shoulder pads made them look as wide as the average Linebacker. Image was everything. If yuppies didn’t have what it took, then they just acted as if they did. It was all about the suits they wore, the designer labels, the quality of their haircuts, manicures, business cards, the latest executive toys – along with everything else they possessed, the quality and reputation of the restaurants they dined in.
The majority of men were vain metrosexuals who spent more time in front of the mirror, fretting over their appearance, than their women did. With the tinny electronic tones of New Romantic pop music ringing in their ears, they juggled their briefcase with their filofax and a mobile cell phone as large as a brick. With all their wheeling and dealing, they acted as if …
In the midst of this vacuous, superficial and materialistic world is Patrick Bateman. He works in Mergers and Acquisitions (or “Murders and Executions” as he tells one potential victim), has money in the bank, a nice apartment and, still in his twenties, is already successful in the world. However, beneath the smooth, gleaming surface another very different Patrick Bateman is fighting for dominance: this one goes out at night and murders people – particularly women.
What causes his murderous rages?
Is he really psychotic, or is it all in his head as he cracks under the pressure of maintaining his image and status in that culture, made worse by the pressures of his work?
Many of the real life yuppies succumbed to a medical condition dubbed: Yuppie flu, aka Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Could this be the case with Patrick Bateman, as his twisted indulgences serve less as an outlet for his dissatisfaction and abhorrence at the world and people around him, pushes him closer to meltdown?
How much can he take before his fantasies spill over into reality?
American Psycho is a chilling study of the self-indulgence, self-importance and glut of that era and frightening in its portrayal of a man with Antisocial Personality Disorder, with no sense of empathy for anyone around him, and whose only release is through sadism and murder.

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