The Insiders, a quick book review

I’ve just finished Brett Easton Ellis’ “The Informers” and although I enjoyed reading it, I am wondering about his future as a novelist.

It is basically a collection of short stories loosely connected by the theme of a morally bankrupt modern life and the setting of LA in the 80’s. There is some hinted at interconnection of characters between the stories, but that’s it. Disorientating the reader by writing in the first person and changing genders in each of the stories, he savages the 80’s and it’s consumption culture. A suitable reference for our recent times, I think, and made me reflect upon myself getting off the ride of the Internet boom before it crashed and again in recent times at Coles. On both occasions feeling like I needed something more substantial than the money.  Although the changing shape of my bank balance may change this point of view…

I always find Easton Ellis to be a seductive read with his bleak, cold, and ferocious observations of people living “cool” but superficial and meaningless lives. In this book, the self-reflexive burying of any empathy with the characters on the part of the author is stark and lends it some humour at times. And it revealed something more of the author to me.

I wondered after the disappointment of the ending to “Glamorama” where it appeared he had lacked the will or even care to finish it off, whether he’d lost his way. After reading the autobiographical “Lunar Park” where he described how much he was haunted by “American Psycho” and his lifestyle of booze and drugs, I had a little more insight of an author scarred from the effort of writing a book about a monster and unable to go “all the way” with a novel for fear of where it will take him.

A now this collection of stories although very well observed and written, is another “not-novel”. Satisfying his need to be clever and witty, his publishers needs for a money spinner, but not I think his potential.