The Rules of Attraction

November 30, 2013 - Comment

Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future–or even the present–who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the

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Set at a small, affluent liberal-arts college in New England at the height of the Reagan 80s, The Rules of Attraction is a startlingly funny, kaleidoscopic novel about three students with no plans for the future–or even the present–who become entangled in a curious romantic triangle. Bret Easton Ellis trains his incisive gaze on the kids at self-consciously bohemian Camden College and treats their sexual posturings and agonies with a mixture of acrid hilarity and compassion while exposing the moral vacuum at the center of their lives.

Lauren changes boyfriends every time she changes majors and still pines for Victor who split for Europe months ago and she might or might not be writing anonymous love letter to ambivalent, hard-drinking Sean, a hopeless romantic who only has eyes for Lauren, even if he ends up in bed with half the campus, and Paul, Lauren’s ex, forthrightly bisexual and whose passion masks a shrewd pragmatism. They waste time getting wasted, race from Thirsty Thursday Happy Hours to Dressed To Get Screwed parties to drinks at The Edge of the World or The Graveyard. The Rules of Attraction is a poignant, hilarious take on the death of romance.

Comments

"goldrobotboy" says:

A Book Full of Dirty Purity This is one of the most gorgeous books I have ever read. Ellis is a smart enough writer not to make it gorgeous in the conventional sense, one where swelling sentences and gushing adjectives are mistaken for beauty. Instead, Ellis uses sheer simplicity and straightforward dialogue to convey just how deeply jaded the characters in the novel are. Every character is longing for something more, but trying to go after it in a self-destructive and obsessive compulsive fashion. It is a dead on accurate portrayal of college life, of the religion of namedropping, gossip, misdirected desire, and the search of a place to belong. The characters are expertly drawn and given voices that have more emotion and chracter in them than those found in most films. It is funny and sad at the same time. When you finish the book, you realize it starts in the middle of a sentence and ends in the middle of a sentence, a subtle yet heartbreaking technique that suggests people have felt this way since…

man_invisible says:

to date, this is Ellis’ best work After reading every other book in Bret Easton Ellis’ backcatalog, I picked up “The Rules of Attraction” expecting more of his overused trademarks: cocaine, sex, vacuous characters. I was really surprised when, in the first few pages, this shaped up to be an incredibly involving novel with some semblance of humanity incorporated into the vacant lives of beautiful college kids searching for love. The story is told through POV segments of various characters, including Sean Bateman (good-looking, hard-drinking, narcissistic), Paul Denton (openly bisexual, provides the novel with genuine morality), and Lauren Hynde (fretting over her boyfriend, who’s off in Europe). Their weekly activities of going to parties, getting drunk/high, and getting laid are chronicled in a hell-as-repetition way, with Ellis incorporating bits of stark, unexpected humor that catches the reader off guard. “The Rules of Attraction” flows with a fluid consistency, so that even events that seem…

E. Kim "A great man should die as a shattered... says:

I always knew it would be like this. Where “Less than Zero” lacked in direction and “American Psycho” lacked in consistancy, “The Rules of Attraction” picks up to pieces to form Bret Easton Ellis’ most intriguing and important novel to date. Unlike his other novels, I never once felt the need to question the direction of the plot, I was instead lost in the unique and profound story told by the different views of these college students who attended a liberal arts school in New England. Sure like all Ellis’ novels, there’s drugs, sex, and a lost sense of identity. But unlike his other novels, “The Rules of Attractions” keeps fresh chapter after chapter. I think it had alot to do with how the book was written, with different commentaries by all the characters in the novel. Sometimes the diiferent perspectives of the characters contridicted the other and miscommunications with the conversations were to say the least, really humorous. This is really a touching, sad, funny, and remarkable novel. I guess there are some…

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