Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

May 18, 2014 § Leave a comment


and it’s a story that might bore you but you don’t have to listen, she told me, because she always knew it was going to be like that,”

This week-end I read The Rules of Attraction. The first Bret Easton Ellis book I’ve gotten more than a few pages into. Something of a sado-masochistic move, on my part. Something to do with breaking myself down, against my own sometime insistence upon naivety — this habitual itch of a yearning toward purity, where it is not.

So, I read the book, and it makes sense as I read it, fits my state of mind. Even sort of confirms some things. And Easton Ellis, to my mind, is not glorifying fucking around, taking tons of drugs, empty, wrecking-ball behaviour, indifference — but rather, writes as if he is merely observing these things. I note that the only times that “fun” or any pleasure is recalled by a character is in reference to time spent with a person that they actually seem to believe that they love (never, in the case of The Rules of Attraction, a love that is reciprocated).

Anyway, as a whole, once read — and actually, aside, I liked the writing once I got used to it — I was left with a) the basic idea that the only thing worth doing is engaging, living, now, and b) the sense that the only thing worth living for IS love, despite the impossibly sad and painful nature of it, (or perhaps actually just that human beings always will love, will always endure that) and that c) love will always contain pain and incomprehension, a large dose of the bleak and the bland, too — and the gap between I and another, you and her, he and she, always.

\//\/ I start writing this list, and edit, and edit again. Because perhaps more than anything else, the story is swept through with such arbitrariness, wariness, haze; any message or statement submitted by a character is then put down again a moment later, turned over or dropped… No one cares for long enough to see any thing through. No one remains.

And suddenly looking around the living room of Windham, Roxy Music blasting, a fire roaring, a half-decorated Christmas tree covered with bras and panties tilted to one side in the corner, I hated these people, yet I wanted to stay here with them. Even with the guy who was a shitty guitarist talking to the loudmouth alcoholic; even with the dyke from Welling; even with the waitress from Dunkin’ Donuts who had showed up and was hanging on to Tim’s arm; even Getch, who was loaded, sitting in the corner, crying, fondling a pony-keg. These were people I would never have spoken to out of this room, but here, at the party, I loathed them more than I thought possible. The music was loud and it was snowing lightly outside, dark in the room except for the fireplace and the lights on the Christmas tree in the corner flickering off and on. This was the moment that counted. This was when it all came together. This was where I wanted to be. Even the ex who was going to fuck Tony. Even her. All that mattered was that we were here….

The feeling sort of clicked off when the beer didn’t come and the guys who had been trying to get it were arrested for drink driving, Getch announced. (…)

— The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis


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