Review Round Up: The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis

We take a look at what critics have been saying about the latest book from Bret Easton Ellis.

The Guardian: “As the book and its characters move towards a shattering state of “exalted understanding”, we realise the precision and subtlety of its metatextual structure. The concluding violence is both climax and origination.”

The Observer: “A pleasingly slippery, impish author, Ellis uses all the up-to-date autofictional techniques to far more exciting effect than, say, Ben Lerner’s superficially tasteful and objectionably dull novel The Topeka School. A devotee of genre shlock, he characteristically weaves a lurid serial killer plotline into his high school KünstlerromanThe Shards reads like a Karl Ove Knausgård novel spliced with a Dario Argento movie.”

The Crimson.com: “Above all else, “The Shards” is a horror novel, and it is set to scare readers in the best way possible. The plot is gripping and keeps one’s heart racing, and readers will be looking over their shoulders long after the book is closed.”

Kirkus Reviews.com: “The usual issues with Ellis apply to this bulky novel: The flatness of the characters, the gratuitousness of the violence, the Didion-esque cool that sometimes reads as Olympian smugness. But as the story proceeds, it also becomes easier to admire Ellis’ ability to sustain the mood—his characters might, as Bret says, “look at everything through this prism of numbness,” but he does ably capture how Bret’s paranoia intensifies out of that emotional distance and how the urge for feeling and connection infects and warps his personality.”

The Telegraph: ** “The Shards, the American Psycho author’s first novel in 13 years, revisits the scene of his debut Less Than Zero – with diminishing returns.”

Delphic Reviews: “with its remarkable sense of time and place, The Shards thickens into a shocking, vicious, relentless, softly heartbreaking, and ultimately wistful read.”

The FT: “The Shards is fiction, despite its framing, but it does feel like an excavation of what made Ellis who he is: a satirist who, like Evelyn Waugh, has more than a touch of affection for the world he mocks. It’s a journey from innocence to experience for “a man who stayed a child” writing about children pretending to be men. Most of all, The Shards is a book of memory (the words “I remember” appear more than 60 times) not just for the narrator, but for Ellis fans too. It takes us back to our discovery of his daring world, a time that then seemed dangerous but now seems innocent. In this context, reading it is a strange, sobering and moving experience.”

The Shards is set to be published on the 17th January.

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