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Bret Easton Ellis Biography

(1964– ), Less than Zero, Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Dutchman to Paul Engle Biography

American novelist, born in Los Angeles, educated at Bennington College, Vermont. His first novel, Less than Zero (1985), was published while the author was still a student and portrayed disaffected 1980s' youth, preoccupied with drugs, casual sex, and money, against a background of affluent Los Angeles society. The book was subsequently made into a film. Similar themes recur in Rules of Attraction (1987), which deals with the psychological traumas of a group of middle-class students at a New England college. American Psycho (1991) caused widespread controversy for its portrayal of a middle-class Wall Street banker who is also a brutal killer; the novel was rejected by the author's American publisher for its excessive violence before being accepted by Picador. The Informers (1994), a collection of linked short stories, covered much the same territory. With Jay McInerney and Tama Janowitz, Ellis has popularized a new style of American writing: laconic, cynical, and concerned with the decadent values of a materialistic generation.

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