Good Books: Lunar Park

Every once in a while, someone discovers that I’m working on Bret Easton Ellis and asks me whether I can recommend one book in particular. Even though I love American Psycho, I don’t want to be responsible for other people’s sleepless nights. So I usually tell them to read Lunar Park. It’s creepy, like all his novels, but it’s more: it’s funny. And even a bit moving. Yes, really.

We meet the author, who’s trying to lead a normal life after years of drug- and alcoholrelated issues. He doesn’t do a very good job: his marriage is a mess and his son hates him. What’s even worse: strange things are happening. Bret is attacked by his daughter’s toys. Furniture seems to rearrange itself. He receives strange e-mails from his bank. And then there’s a young student, Clayton, who looks like a younger version of himself…

Yes, Ellis surely explores his inner Stephen King in this novel. And he succeeds: Lunar Park is scary in a truly spooky way. But it’s not just about ghosts and skeletons in closets. It’s about failing to connect with other people, the author’s bad relationship with your father, the danger of being haunted by your past.

Contrary to his earlier novels, it actually has a plot. It reads like a thriller and it’s actually – cliché alert! – a page turner. That’s why I recommend it to Ellis-virgins: American Psycho might be too gruesome, Glamorama too confusing, Imperial Bedrooms too depressing. But Lunar Park is suprisingly accessible. It’s funny. And it shows that Ellis is actually a great author, who knows how to write a story which still haunts you long after you’ve read the last page. Give it a try. It won’t disappoint you.

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