Back to Ground Zero – Brett Easton Ellis
WHEN Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger died last January, many US literary figures were quick to publicly lament his passing. Not Bret Easton Ellis, who tweeted the following: “Yeah!! Thank God he’s finally dead. I’ve been waiting for this day for-f**king-ever. Party tonight!!!”
Rapidly re-tweeted around the planet, those 17 words caused almost as much controversy as some of Ellis’s novels (which is really saying something when you consider he wrote American Psycho). Sitting comfortably in the lounge of the Meyrick Hotel on the day of his Galway Arts Festival reading, the boyish-looking, 46-year-old author wrinkles his forehead when I bring it up.
“I feel odd having to explain a tweet,” he shrugs. “All I know is that half the people who read it, got it. And half the people who didn’t get it wanted to kill me. I don’t know. I didn’t think the tweet was about Salinger. I thought it was about something else.”
Perhaps Ellis was paying homage by mimicking the style of Catcher’s disaffected teenage narrator Holden Caulfield? He refuses to comment further. Later, though, talking about technology, he observes: “There are some tweets out there that say what needs to be said in about 140 characters, while certain writers who literally masturbate for 400 pages fail to say [it] as succinctly.”
He’s in the early stages of a major promo tour for his noir-ish sixth novel, Imperial Bedrooms. Short, stoned and shocking, it’s a sequel to his 1985 debut, Less Than Zero, which rocketed him to fame at the tender age of 21.
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