The redemption of Bret Easton Ellis

A decade ago, the American Psycho author was vilified. Now, he could launch a franchise.

But why must a man apologize when, a decade later, people still give a shit about shit? Were it not for the controversy created by the publication of American Psycho, it's likely the book would have disappeared, one more Ellis tome thrown upon the literary bonfire. It is simply boring, about as captivating as the dictionary. Even the gory scenes ("I spent the next 15 minutes beside myself, pulling out a bluish rope of intestine, most of it still connected to the body, and shoving it into my mouth, choking on it...") contain no impact, no terror, no anything. They're silly and overwrought, failed experiments in gross-out "humor." Even Ellis admits now that when he's gone back to re-read the novel, he's wondered whether he should have excised some of the more "graphic" passages.

"Some nights," he says, "when I'm lying there and can't get to sleep and thinking of all the wrong choices I made through my life and all the regrets I have, I think, 'Well, maybe I could have edited out a couple of those details. You didn't have to be so extreme.' And then what comes back to me and hits me so straight on in the face is basically, 'Hey, this is the book you wrote, and this is the book you wanted to write at that point in your life, for better or worse.'"

Or, as it turns out, for both.

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