RARA-AVIS: Bret Easton Ellis new novel influenced by Chandler

From: Michael S. Chong (menglish47@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 May 2010

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    From Vice magazine's interview with Bret Easton Ellis on his new novel Imperial Bedrooms:
      There’s no reason to do it if it’s not fun. Was Imperial Bedrooms easy to plot once you started to outline it? I’d been reading a lot of Raymond Chandler, and that was my big influence.

    I was going to ask you about pulp novels, actually. Yeah, I was very influenced by Raymond Chandler and that kind of pulpy noir fiction. I think it really summed up where Clay had landed. That style just worked for me. I thought it was right for this narrator’s voice.

    And what did this pulp stuff have to do with plotting out Imperial Bedrooms? Well, so I’d been reading a lot of Raymond Chandler, and you know what? The plots really don’t matter. The solutions to mysteries don’t matter. Sometimes they’re not solved at all. It’s just the mood that’s so enthralling. And it’s kind of universal, this idea of a man searching for something or moving through this moral landscape and trying to protect himself from it, and yet he’s still forced to investigate it. The plot comes into play during the outline stage, where the story tells itself. That was especially true with a novel like this one, which is narrated by a screenwriter and which has a movie-ish feel to it. And I was thinking about Hollywood novels, too, and how do you write a Hollywood novel without satire. That was the other thing. Every Hollywood novel seems to be like a satirical take on something.


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