Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis (2 Viewers)

strangedaze

Senior Member
The more I work through Ellis's ouevre, the more in love I fall with his sparse, almost apathetic writing style, hollow, anaestheticized characters, and the drug-n-violence-saturated world of celebrity they inhabit. The Informers has been received with mixed reviews (like most of his work) and many see it as slightly weaker than some of his other work. Never one to take reviewers too seriously, I decided to form my own opinion.

The Informers is often touted as a novel, at times by Ellis himself, but it's really a collection of short stories threaded together in similar fashion as, say, Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn or the works of Alice Munro. It's a world of superficiality, where the characters, ranging from younger males to mothers to fathers to vampires (I'll explain later) ease through life completely unaffacted by it.

Sounds boring and plot-less? In many ways, the novel has the same hypnotic algorhythms as an Irvine Welsh drug tale. Even though there are times when the casual, remorselessly distant voice Ellis employs bleeds the characters together, it doesn't matter. Modern life does that, know what I mean? The dehumanizing effects of modern life, affluence especially, are put vividly on display. Joyce couldn't resist the urge to immortalize his austere, claustrophobic Dublin; Richler sought to capture his moment in time on St. Urbain street in Montreal. Like these two and so many other authors, Ellis is writing his moment, his life, as a dazed yuppie from LA, caught in a world of unfeeling and callous depravity that is subtle and disturing.

The Informers read a lot like Ellis's first novel, Less Than Zero, but in many ways it disturbed me more. The motifs that recur throughout the series of meandering first person narratives are, in many ways, more frightening: the disappearance of children is always mentioned, mutilated bodies found, and, interestingly enough, vampires. Yes, we have ourselves some bloodsuckers, folks, but don't let that put you off as it almost put me off: they may or may not just be bloodletting poseurs (and I know people who do that kind of jazz in the sack), and even if you decide they aren't, as Ellis himself pointed out, they function as a perfect metaphor for the type of people about which he is writing.

There are a few flops (unless you are reading it as a novel, which I did for most of it, so that didn't bother me), but also some huge hits. In the second last story, for instance, after being lulled into this world of unfeeling we are suddenly jolted into tangibility when one of the yuppies must deal with a terminally ill lover. Even though the piece is short, it's fascinating to see these beautiful, unfeeling creatures cope with impending loss. Some deny it altogether.

I'm not going to give this a rating because I'm clearly biased. The stories are unique, sometimes powerful in the same way that the work in Salinger's Nine Stories is. You might want to read Less Than Zero or American Psycho first, to get a sense of Ellis's world, but it's not requisite. I'm particularly intrigued by the way the characters connect with a part of myself - the part that feels perpetually alienated, distanced, and overwhelmed by the world around me. A fun book for disenchanted youth and aging cynics alike, though the style and viceral setting may get repetititve or, dare I say, boring after awhile.

With that in mind, if you have a peek at LTZ and love it, than this book is for you. If Gen-X fiction, like Coupland and Chucky P. do it for you, Ellis might be your man, though his writing style and subject matter are quite a bit different.

Take what you may and discard the rest.
 
Top