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American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Cover concept by Lorenzo Princi, 15th January 2014
I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning...

Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel is the only book I've ever picked up in a store which was shrink-wrapped as if it were a something out of The Evil Dead. The extreme censorship only intrigued me the more so whilst passing time on a flight I breezed through the book, uncomfortably enjoying it page by page.

American Psycho is a first person journal narrative by Patrick Bateman, a young wealthy investment banker "working" during the Wall Street boom of the 1980's. Bateman enjoys all the pleasures money can by; fast cars, beautiful women and fine dining in a series of events which play out like a competitive merry-go-round within his circle of acquaintances.

His absurd routine fills his schedule with mundane errands, skincare application, workout regimes and high-class meals at New York's top billed restaurants. Oh! And obscene serial killing sprees.

Bateman's emotional numbness leads to logical yet apathetic actions toward others yet as we read, the line between his actual spoken words and inner thoughts become blurred. A sociopath who details in this fantastical journey every thought from pop album reviews to ultra-violent murders.

Filled with all the worst traits of an extreme 80's lifestyle including narcissism, violent sexual fetishes, the entitlement of upper elite classes and capitalism. Ellis' novel is rightfully a modern classic and as relevant as ever today. Yet reader discretion is advised, it does create very disturbing imagery through it's vivid descriptions.