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Imperial Bedrooms

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Imperial Bedrooms is a novel by American author Bret Easton Ellis. Released on June 15, 2010, it is the sequel to Less Than Zero, Ellis' 1985 bestselling literary debut, which was shortly followed by a film adaptation in 1987. Imperial Bedrooms revisits Less Than Zero's self-destructive and disillusioned youths as they approach middle-age in the present day. Like Ellis' earlier novel, which took its name from Elvis Costello's 1977 song of the same name, Imperial Bedrooms is named after Costello's 1982 album. The action of the novel takes place twenty-five years after Less Than Zero. Its story follows Clay, a New York-based screenwriter, after he returns to Los Angeles to cast his new film. There he becomes embroiled in the sinister world of his former friends and confronts the darker aspects of his own personality. The novel opens with a literary device which suggests the possibility that the narrator of Imperial Bedrooms may not be the same as the narrator of Less Than Zero although both are ostensibly narrated by Clay. In doing this, Ellis is able to comment on the earlier novel's style and on the development of its moralistic film adaptation. In the novel Ellis explores Clay's pathological narcissism, masochistic and sadistic tendencies, and exploitative personality, which had been less explicit in Less Than Zero. Ellis chose to do this in part to dispel the sentimental reputation Less Than Zero has accrued over the years, that of "an artifact of the 1980s". Imperial Bedrooms retains Ellis' characteristic transgressive style and applies it to the 2000s (decade) and 2010s, covering amongst other things, the impact of new communication technologies on daily lives. Ellis began working on what would become Imperial Bedrooms during the development of his 2005 novel, Lunar Park. As with his previous works, Imperial Bedrooms depicts scenes of sex, extreme violence and hedonism in a minimalist style devoid of emotion. Some commentators have noted however that unlike previous works, Imperial Bedrooms employs more of the conventional devices of popular fiction. Reviews were mixed and frequently polarized. Some reviewers felt the novel was a successful return to themes explored in Less Than Zero, Lunar Park and American Psycho (1991), while others derided it as boring or self-indulgent.
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original title: Imperial Bedrooms
language: English
date of publication: 2010
genre: novel
narrative location: Los Angeles
follows: Less Than Zero

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