Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Bret's work, it seems, is either loved or truly loathed.
Almost all of his past novels have been as controversial and as feared by some people as
hell itself, especially as Bret focuses on taboo subjects with intense abandon.
His best known book is the huge-selling American Psycho masterpiece, yet his other
work is most definitely worth reading too - if you like that kind of thing.
Alright, Less Than Zero isn't half as engrossing or shockingly gripping as
American Psycho, but Less Than Zero is buoyed by spurts of truly amazing writing.
Following the exploits of a young man called Clay who returns home to
LA for Christmas, because Clay's friends have been brought up around money
there is nothing that any of them really want for or need.
The only things that really, truly turns them on is sex, drugs and a rock 'n'
roll-affiliated lifestyle... and when we're talking sex, it's often in sick and twisted circumstances.
Christmas in Palm Springs. It was always hot. Even if it was raining, it was still hot.
Easton Ellis writes about the young and disillusioned in a similar manner to
Rick Moody, the latter author having written such drama-packed gems as Garden State
and The Ice Storm.
There might be far more going-nowhere dialogue than heart-attackingly staged action
in Less Than Zero compared to American Psycho, but just bear in mind that Easton Ellis
was born in 1964, and this novel was published back in 1985.
Yes, this was written when he'd only just edged into his twenties, which is an
astounding fact to behold given how powerful and attention-demanding his writing
is even at this early stage in his career.
Just as Jack Kerouac's Orpheus Emerge hinted at such a writer's early and
fast-developing talents that eventually peaked with his On The Road classic of
contemporary literature, so Less Than Zero - when it was first released -
would have highlighted Easton Ellis' incredible knack for weaving a terse narrative
around disturbing acts of sex and violence.
And if you like this book, you might also like to indulge in the same
author's Rules of Attraction, should the prospect of yet more shocking
behaviour prove to be something of a turn on for you.
Alternatively, you can simply possess a curious mind in order to read and
revel in the written word. Just remember: too much curiosity killed the cat...
ISBN 0-330-29400-8 (Picador)
Reviews, Books - The Hunting Wind by Steve Hamilton Reviewed By Steve Rudd
This is the fourth thriller of Steve's that I've devoured with a heady, stance-steady vengeance. He really does reside in the top drawer of American-based thriller writers, living in New York but writing about the state in which he was raised… the often cold and bleak Northern state of Michigan, near to the border with Canada.
The previous three novels that I've read of his
Reviews, Books - Fury by Salman Rushdie Reviewed By Steve Rudd
I must live until I die.
Perhaps best known for his hugely controversial book The Satanic Verses, Indian writer
Salman Rushdie is one of the most famous writers in the world, which is understandable
when his writing is so utterly extraordinary in timbre.
Mysteries drive us all. We only glimpse their veiled faces, but their power pushes
us onward, Read more...
Reviews, Books - The Nineties by John Robb Reviewed By Steve Rudd
If you remember the Nineties... you were there!
This incredible book, written by the singer for punk rock 'n' roll band Goldblade in
truly is a breathtaking overview of an exhilarating decade.
And it isn't just music that is covered, as the always-opinionated Robb proffers his honest
opinions about anything and everything that had a
Reviews, Books - Lost Souls by Michael Collins Reviewed By Steve Rudd
We only live once. I don't think we ever really confront that until it's too late.
Understandably shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Lost Souls is not your average mystery-thriller
novel, with this engrossing 'whodunnit' focusing on a small-town cop trying to get to the bottom
of the mysterious death of a three-year-old girl.
The prime suspect is the local football star,
Reviews, Theatre - Sep 20 - 25th - The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Northern Broadsides Company at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough by Patrick Henry
The scandal school of the title locates itself in tea-parties gathering mostly at the home of
Lady Sneerwell, who has a voracious addiction to gossip amid the Darjeeling and cream cakes
passed around her close acquaintances equally hooked on rumour-peddling.
Suspectedly, no-one has any friends in this circle or in upper-class society at
Reviews, Books - Harry Potter Series by Mark Petherbridge
In my opinion, the Harry Potter books are fantastic, whether it's read to escape into the intriguing, yet marvellously complex world or to read in third person about a boy whose life is a series of amazing adventures, in a secret yet in-your-face wizarding world.
According to recent studies (the source being Newsround) these books have
Reviews, Books - Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck Reviewed By Steve Rudd
People don't take trips - trips take people.
It's almost impossible, in this day and age, to not have heard of John Steinbeck.
First and foremost, his Of Mice And Men short story is the staple part of almost every school
curriculum, while his Grapes of Wrath novel is equally as well-known.
Steinbeck was born and raised in the Salinas area of California,
Reviews, Books - Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway Reviewed by Steve Rudd
No, I wasn't naïve enough to be fooled into thinking that this exquisite novel from the legendary Hemingway was an in-depth car manual designed to accompany the latest Ford creation.
Far from it, in fact, for this story follows a bunch of friends who travel from Paris to Spain, and to the town of Pamplona in particular to witness the bull-running and -fighting events of the infamous
Reviews, Theatre - June 6-11th - The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare and Sweet William by Alan Plater. Northern Broadsides Company at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough by Patrick Henry
These two works played in a week of repertory constitute essentially company productions,
without star actors nor prominent leading characters, giving all-round strength to the
enterprise, but also some weaknesses.
It is absorbing to watch how the actors from the classic comedy are deployed in the cast
of the new Plater piece.
Reviews, Books - Swan Song by Robert Edric Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
Swan Song is the third and final part of Robert Edric's cycle trilogy. Although Edric does not describe himself as crime-fiction writer per-se, he skilfully demonstrates the strength of the genre. Although crime-fiction is generally criticised for not being literary enough, Edric uses it as a vehicle with which to explore contemporary society.
Reviews, Books - The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth Reviewed by Steve Rudd
So, The Phantom of The Opera is perhaps one of the best-known stories in the world, but how many
of you good people realised that a sequel to the story has actually been written - and has been
kicking around for some years now - by the one and only Frederick Forsyth?
The original, horrifying Phantom of The Opera story was penned by Frenchman Gaston Leroux, but the world at
Reviews, Books - The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac Reviewed by Steve Rudd
He doesn't need any money... all he needs is his rucksack.
There really was no end to Jack's writing talents after all! This is the fifth book of his that I've had the pleasure of reading, and it is by far and away my favourite.
When you get to the top of a mountain, keep climbing.
Packed with all the excitement of his classic masterpiece On The RoadRead more...
Reviews, Books - I'm a Teacher Get Me Out of Here by Francis Gilbert (Short Books) Reviewed By Cathy Walker
As I am about to change career to become a primary school teacher, I picked up
I'm A Teacher Get Me Out Of Here with a little trepidation. I'd heard that it presents the
reality of working in a 'tough school', of what a hard and challenging job being a teacher truly is.
I can't wait to become a teacher and I didn't want
Reviews, Events - Nights Out - Tuesday 24th May 05 - Benny Hill Preservation Society By Adam Atkinson
My utter fascination with all things Benny started as early as the age of three, when I by
chance happened upon some irrelevant sketch involving the Benster dressed as a cardiac
surgeon examining some saucy minx. 12 years later I would see my own Uncle Frank arrested for the very same thing.
Reviews, Books - In The Winter Dark by Tim Winton Reviewed by Steve Rudd
A menacing short story from the ever-interesting Australian writer Tim Winton,
this is a thrilling venture into dark and macabre territory that focuses on a few
people who live in a secluded valley that seems to also be inhabited by a mysterious
creature that preys both on their animals and their worst fears.
Reviews, Books - The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan Reviewed by Steve Rudd
First published way, way back in 1915, this is the story that inspired the infamous movie of
the same name that was directed by the king of noir, old Alfred Hitchcock.
I have it on good authority that the film version does in fact differ to quite a large extent to this novel, but what the hell.
I can't imagine the book being any less suspenseful or tense
Reviews, Books - Junky by William S. Burroughs Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Where to start with a man of William's legendary literary standing?
Born in 1914, in his own time he came to be regarded as one of the most
important American writers of the Sixties Beat generation - during which
time his writing was revered in the same way that the work of
Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg was.
Reviews, Books - The Long Rain by Peter Gadol Reviewed By Steve Rudd
After I had walked around the winery, I climbed back in my truck and continued driving farther up
into the foothills, and some nights I did make it as far as the mountain road.
I wanted to cross the Diablo range.
I wanted to keep driving clear across the state and into the desert, deep into the American
vastness, where I knew no one and no one knew me.