tripping the life unbalanced

Thursday, August 10, 2006

#27. Lunar Park

Once again, I have fallen behind in the 'ole 50 book challenge. Actually, what has happened is that I am cheating on the challenge, and behind the challenge's back am reading a whole bunch of great books that are more up my alley then some of my original choices. So - coming soon to TTLU - a new feature entitled "SIDE BAR: books without guilt". I have already read quite a few books to make notes on, like Lee Martin's The Bright Forever, and Jennifer Egan's Look At Me (both of which I loved). And I somehow have to sound the alarm for the most excellent The Secret History by Donna Tartt (which doesn't really need an alarm sounded, as it was published in 1992 to great acclaim. I'm just a bit late to the party, that's all, and thought I should alert any other latecomers: do not miss this gift of literature).


So yes. Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis. Unlike many of my friends in the early 90s, I did not read and fall deeply in love with Ellis' famous novel American Psycho. I was well aware of its presence, of course, and was nudged and encouraged constantly to give it a shot. I didn't, for no real good reason. It might have helped to read it before reading Lunar Park. Using the "text within a text within a text" trick, this novel sees Ellis as novelist as unreliable narrator as character. In the book, the "character" Bret Easton Ellis has recently married and become step-dad to his new wife's children. He is actually also the bio dad of one of the kids, which leads of course to many inner struggles with fatherhood and father-fear.

I don't really want to go into the plot much here (as it's also kind of a ghost story and I don't want to throw you off course), but will say this: Lunar Park was one of the best books I have ever read about masculinity. You may have gathered from my earlier entries that I am not a fan of the male midlife crisis books. I am sure that many of them have their own validity and fully admit that this is a bias that isn't based on anything substantial. Just that I'm sick of hearing those stories.

So when I find a book like Lunar Park full of all the cliches (older man has affair with younger girl and hides the affair - as well as his coke habit -from his new wife), and I LIKE IT, well then I just want to shout it to the world. I expected to hate the characters and instead felt sympathetic and even found myself nodding along "yes YES I know what you mean." How can this be? Well, for one thing Ellis is master with words and that helps. There's also just something about his self-pitying and self-absorbed character in the book that I identify with.

Go get this book and see for yourself.


  • Sounds interesting. Thanks for the reco!

    By Blogger metro mama, at 6:51 a.m.  

  • I will check it out. I didn't read American Psycho either but I did read his earlier books and I rather liked them. But i always confuse him with Jay McInerney.

    By Blogger Stefanie, at 12:38 a.m.  

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