Note from Josh: I reviewed American Psycho (my review) about a year ago and still get quite a bit of traffic from that review. And nasty mail. It’s a polarizing work, no doubt about it. But I’m always happy to publish another take on my reviews. Here’s one from Peter Baker.
This book is possibly one of the best works of fiction dealing with the question of existence (existentialism). Other works of fiction with that regard incluce “Waiting for Godot,” “No Exit,” and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” What they all have in common with “American Psycho” is that they take into account how absurd life really is.
In “American Psycho,” the protagonists lives in the 1980’s–an era characterized by excess, and superficial qualities abundant within everyone. Everyone looks for really stellar cocaine, everyone has to have the best business card, the best damned condo, and the best workout regimen. Patrick Bateman, the protagonist, describes all of these things in minute detail. Right down to the music he listens to.
What does this have in common with protagonists in the other mentioned works? Their lives are inherently boring, so they imbue it with meaning to make it relevant in some way. In the case of Bateman, his life is so ultra mundane–he has the same job as everyone else, nobody knows who he is, and his girlfriend is a vapid chasm of nothingness–that he has to fabricate this ultra-excessive existence, full of horrific murders, intense sexual acts, and drug use.
My take on the work is that none of this stuff actually happened–if you kill someone with a nail gun, the person in the next apartment would notice. Or maybe they wouldn’t care because they are so self absorbed? Ultimately, the Brett Easton Ellis leaves it to you, and you could make the argument for either side. What we get from this book, concretely, are the absurdities of life, and the shallowness of the world around us.
About The Author
I am Peter Baker, I just graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in religious studies and I teach guitar and piano at a local music store in Brandon, FL. My website is www.deathmetalanddeadlifting.blogspot.com