Bret Eas­t­on Ellis: ​“I think peo­ple want to be victims”

Bret Eas­t­on Ellis enters the hotel meet­ing room with a paper bag from Pret and a box of books. Although it’s two o’clock, he’s had a heavy break­fast (a ham and cheese omelette) and isn’t expect­ing to need lunch until 3pm. The books are to be signed, obvi­ous­ly. He is wear­ing a black track­suit and prac­ti­cal look­ing train­ers. His phone illu­mi­nates his front pock­et. He opens a bot­tle of still water with­out offer­ing me any, and drinks a lit­tle. I have not read his new book, White, a col­lec­tion of essays large­ly bemoan­ing mod­ern life.

Recent inter­views por­tray Ellis as rather bristly – an inter­view with The New York­er went viral after he start­ed up about Trump and sex­u­al assault; but then he is an author known for his can­dour in cap­tur­ing the deprav­i­ty of a cer­tain high-fly­ing class of peo­ple. He is polar­is­ing, sure, but he’s made a career out of it.

White
 is his first book in ten years. In the decade since Impe­r­i­al Bed­rooms (a sequel to his first book, 1985’s Less Than Zero), he’s tak­en to Twit­ter, host­ed a pod­cast, helped write a cou­ple of films and watched as Amer­i­can Psy­cho was turned into a musi­cal. He’s also, it seems, spent a lot of time exam­in­ing the void that rules us all: the dark vor­tex of the internet.

I have not read your new book. I’m sorry. 

That’s fine.

I’ve read the oth­er ones, but when they came out.

That’s total­ly…

But I’ve not read this one. 

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