Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis – Reviewed by Guy Portman
Lunar Park is a mock memoir that begins with a parodic account of Bret Easton Ellis’s early fame. The young New York resident’s existence consists of endless parties, casual relationships, spiralling drug use, embarrassing book tours and lingering concerns that his seminal work American Psycho is resulting in copy cat murders. Our protagonist has also been deeply affected by a tumultuous relationship with an apathetic father, who has since died in mysterious circumstances.
Ellis, now approaching middle age, reunites with a former partner, a famous actress called Jane, and moves to Los Angeles, to live with her, their young son Robby, and Sarah, Jane’s daughter from another relationship. Ellis finds it difficult to adapt to family life. Not only is he obsessed with one of his students at the college where he lectures part-time, he is also struggling to stay sober, and has failed to form a bond with son Robby.
On Halloween unexplained events occur, including the house’s furniture being mysteriously rearranged, and sinister goings-on involving Sarah’s soft toy Terby. This, along with a number of murders that appear to be mirroring Ellis’s book American Psycho, in addition to a number of boys vanishing from the locality, all add to our protagonist’s increasing paranoia, and threaten to tear his fragile home life apart.
Lunar Park is in essence a suburban horror that forces the reader to travel back through Easton Ellis’s old books. Convoluted and at times self-indulgent, Lunar Park differs from the author’s earlier works, in that there is less debauchery, the characters are less vapid, the past tense is utilised, and the author exposes himself by confronting his past, most notably issues with his father. In this reader’s opinion the supernatural elements are confusing and at times ludicrous.