Books Reviews

The Shards, A Novel by Bret Easton Ellis

The Shards
Published: January 17, 2023

A new novel by Bret Easton Ellis is, by definition, an event. This is due to the fact that the scandal and star author always took a lot of time between his books. Imperial Bedrooms, the predecessor of The Shards, dates back thirteen years; meanwhile, Bret Easton Ellis published the excellent and very funny volume of essays “Weiss”, in which he told about his childhood and adolescence between comic and porn consumption and complained that the omnipresent public nowadays no longer allows life with secrets.

With “The Shards” a novel of around 700 pages is now being published, which is already being celebrated as a dark masterpiece. The year is 1981, and 17-year-old Bret, the protagonist of the novel, goes to a high school in Los Angeles where the rich and famous send their children to. Bret lives alone in a mansion above L.A. His parents are in Europe. With incomparable precision, Bret Easton Ellis evokes the mood of this epoch, depicts a milieu in all its details, fashions, musical preferences and snobbishness – of course also in all its mendacity, whereby the affirmation, as always with this author, represents the provocation addressed to the readership.

With Robert, a new classmate appears who exerts a great fascination on Bret – until a serial killer gets closer and closer to the cheerful gang. Very quietly, fear and paranoia creep into the glamorous world. In fact, more than a dozen serial killers were at work in California in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Shards is a novel about the loss of innocence. Even if this innocence was always an illusion.

A novel of sensational literary and psychological suspense from the best-selling author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho that tracks a group of privileged high school friends in a vibrantly fictionalized 1980s Los Angeles as a serial killer strikes across the city.