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End of the Century

John Sutherland, 13 October 1988

Worlds Apart 
by David Holbrook.
Hale, 205 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 9780709033639
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Story of My Life 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 188 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 7475 0180 7
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Forgotten Life 
by Brian Aldiss.
Gollancz, 284 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 575 04369 5
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Incline Our hearts 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 241 12256 2
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... in England’s veins. McInerney (who was five years old in 1960) is the leading connoisseur with Bret EastonEllis (who was not born in 1960) of a Nineties decadent chic. It’s that time of the century again, and McInerney’s style here and in his earlier bestseller Bright Lights, Big City is strikingly similar to ...

Apologising

James Wood, 24 August 1995

The Burning Library: Writings on Art, Politics, Sexuality 1969-93 
by Edmund White.
Picador, 385 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 330 33883 8
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Skinned Alive 
by Edmund White.
Chatto, 262 pp., £12.99, March 1995, 0 7011 6175 2
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... it almost as an article of faith in the ‘blankness’ of mimetic apprehension in the work of Bret EastonEllis and others). A moment like this occurs in White’s essay, ‘Fantasia on the Seventies’, when he visits a club where a go-go boy with a pretty body and bad skin stripped down to his jockey shorts and ...

The Power of Sunshine

Alexander Cockburn, 10 January 1991

City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 462 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 86091 303 1
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... Faulkner, film noir, the extraordinary novels of Chester Himes and on towards Rechy, Didion and Bret EastonEllis. Davis acutely points out that noir – dystopian revulsion at the boosterism that manured the city’s growth – took hold as a style in the Depression because it was anchored in the despair of the ...

Predatory Sex Aliens

Gary Indiana: Burroughs, 8 May 2014

Call Me Burroughs: A Life 
by Barry Miles.
Twelve, 718 pp., £17, January 2014, 978 1 4555 1195 2
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... form in his wake – John Hawkes, Rudolph Wurlitzer, Renata Adler, Lynne Tillman, Kathy Acker, Bret EastonEllis and Tao Lin come to mind – but innovative narrative fiction has enjoyed far greater support from publishers and readers in Europe. The bulk of published American fiction consists of ...

Top of the World

Jenny Turner: Douglas Coupland, 22 June 2000

Miss Wyoming 
by Douglas Coupland.
Flamingo, 311 pp., £9.99, February 2000, 0 00 225983 4
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... the North American mainstream of late-20th-century blank-generation art. The consumerism is very Bret EastonEllis; the gizmology takes him close to Laurie Anderson; the relationship to Warhol and downtown Pop-ism has already been rehearsed. Coupland’s cool, he’s hip, he’s always first with whatever’s ...

In the Box

Dale Peck, 6 February 1997

How Stella Got Her Groove Back 
by Terry McMillan.
Viking, 368 pp., £16, September 1996, 0 670 86990 2
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Push 
by Sapphire.
Secker, 142 pp., £7.99, September 1996, 0 436 20291 3
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The Autobiography of My Mother 
by Jamaica Kincaid.
Vintage, 228 pp., £8.99, September 1996, 0 09 973841 4
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... context; or the Brat Pack writers of the late Eighties, whose three ‘founders’, Jay McInerney, Bret EastonEllis and Tama Janowitz, remain its only viable practitioners; or the so-called New Narrativists of the first half of this decade, writers as diverse in talent and sensibility as Rebecca Brown, Dennis ...

Hoogah-Boogah

James Wolcott: Rick Moody, 19 September 2002

The Black Veil 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 323 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 571 20056 7
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... lifestyle, he washes down a dozen Quaaludes with Jack Daniels. His youthful exploits make for a Bret EastonEllis cocktail of privilege, debauchery and brand-names. ‘Barbara, the cocaine abuser, had encouraged me, after a night at Danceteria, to chop lines of that fell drug with her on her parents’ Roy ...

Illuminating, horrible etc

Jenny Turner: David Foster Wallace, 14 April 2011

Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace 
by David Lipsky.
Broadway, 320 pp., $16.99, 9780307592439
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The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel 
by David Foster Wallace.
Hamish Hamilton, 547 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 0 241 14480 0
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... craze for what Wallace called ‘conspicuously young’ first-time novelists: Jay McInerney, Bret EastonEllis, writers Wallace despised. His next book, Girl with Curious Hair (1989), saw him starting to focus his brainpower in haunting, enduringly strange tales of television, flatness, chemical and electrical ...

God wielded the buzzer

Christian Lorentzen: The Sorrows of DFW, 11 October 2012

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace 
by D.T. Max.
Granta, 352 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 84708 494 1
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... Wallace died. He was by the end a good person too, loved and mourned by just about everyone except Bret EastonEllis. It’s possible to see Wallace’s career as the inversion of that of another great American novelist who wrote journalism that was pervaded by his personality: Norman Mailer. Monstrousness was the thing ...

I just let him have his beer

Christopher Tayler: John Williams Made it Work, 19 December 2019

The Man who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, ‘Stoner’ and the Writing Life 
by Charles Shields.
Texas, 305 pp., £23.99, October 2018, 978 1 4773 1736 5
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Nothing but the Night 
by John Williams.
NYRB, 144 pp., $14.95, February 2019, 978 1 68137 307 2
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... follows this outline to the letter. What’s amazing is that Williams made it work, though as Bret EastonEllis observes in his introduction to the Vintage edition of Butcher’s Crossing, ‘you can tell from reading these books that the writer was taking this all very seriously’ – Stoner depends for its ...

Christian v. Cannibal

Michael Rogin: Norman Mailer and American history, 1 April 1999

The American Century 
by Harold Evans.
Cape, 710 pp., £40, November 1998, 0 224 05217 9
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The Time of Our Time 
by Norman Mailer.
Little, Brown, 1286 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 316 64571 0
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... Jamesian: it lies in the alleged superiority of the art of fiction over mere external reportage. Bret EastonEllis’s nasty book, Mailer claims, reproduces sexual violence instead of making sense of it. Good fiction undertakes a journey to the heart of darkness; the time of Mailer’s time becomes the time of our ...

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