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Last Words On 'Psycho'

May 12, 1991

After having read Henry Bean's review of "American Psycho," as well as Norman Mailer's exemplary review of the book in Vanity Fair, my own opinion of Ellis' work (all three books) was cemented (i.e., that it is disturbingly riveting hackwork), an opinion apparently shared by many.

And after having read the responses that Bean's review elicited, it struck me that everyone who attacked Bean (and, through him, Ellis) did so from the standpoint of each attacker's own aesthetic (and even overtly political) agenda. Thus, the Letters page of the April 7 Book Review read like the transcript of an insoluble, and petty, argument. It was just so much bickering. Ah, the vagaries of Lit Crit!

While I applaud Ellis' personal achievement (i.e., that he wrote a book, in itself no small task, and that he managed to sell it twice), much like I would any person's performance (if only out of courtesy), "American Psycho" fails on the only two criteria that I have found to mean anything:

1. Would I recommend it to the library of my best friend?

2. Would I invest my time to read it again?

JOHN V. WYLIE JR., LAS VEGAS

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