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American Psycho | [Bret Easton Ellis]

American Psycho

Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.
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Publisher's Summary

In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

As an added bonus, when you purchase any of our Audible Modern Vanguard productions of Bret Easton Ellis' books, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview added to your library.

©1991 Bret Easton Ellis; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Bret Easton Ellis is a very, very good writer [and] American Psycho is a beautifully controlled, careful, important novel....The novelist's function is to keep a running tag on the progress of the culture; and he's done it brilliantly....A seminal book." (The Washington Post)

"The first novel to come along in years that takes on deep and Dostoyevskian themes....[Ellis] is showing older authors where the hands have come to on the clock....He has forced us to look at intolerable material, and so few novelists try for that anymore." (Vanity Fair)

"A masterful satire and a ferocious, hilarious, ambitious, inspiring piece of writing, which has large elements of Jane Austen at her vitriolic best. An important book." (Katherine Dunn)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (116 )
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  •  
    Mike Calvo Florida 09-13-09
    Mike Calvo Florida 09-13-09 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really Twisted!"

    I haven't even finished this book yet, but I must say that I have to agree with the other reviewer. This book is quite well written. But, man is it a shocker! Makes you question even the author's sanity. How can he grasp such a sick side of human depravity? I have to say this book is brilliant but DISTURBING! Don't read it if you have a weak stomach. Sexual scenes are MUCH MUCH harder core than any other book I have seen labeled "fiction" on Audible. So be warned! I don't really know if I can finish it.

    36 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie Toronto 01-20-12
    Annie Toronto 01-20-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant"

    I have one tip for those of you considering buying American Psycho: if you start it, commit to finishing it, no matter how it might make you feel.

    See, you will get a few hours in and wonder what Ellis and his protagonist, Patrick Bateman, are rambling on about. You???ll hear about every outfit anyone wears, what it looks like, what it???s made of, what label it carries, and possibly where it was bought. You???ll meet a lot of unpleasant people trying to one-up each other with restaurant reservations and other signs of status, and you will probably care about none of them. Well, maybe Jean the secretary. But that???s it.

    There is a point, I promise. What better way to illustrate a society so wrapped up in itself and its greed? In the midst of all this excess, a man can casually admit over dinner that he tortures and murders people, and no one even notices. Conversation goes on as before.

    You???ll get through that, and then the killing will start. It is relentless and nearly unbearable. You will think, ???This is vile, hateful stuff. It???s misogynistic. It???s misanthropic. It???s nothing but torture porn.??? But it???s not torture porn. No one writing a book intended merely to titillate would dedicate 20 minutes to a detailed monologue on the recordings of Huey Lewis and the News. No way. There???s more to this book.

    If you make it to the end, you will be rewarded. The last few hours are where Ellis shows you what a masterpiece this is. There is a scene, one of the most riveting I have encountered in my life, between Bateman and a sinister real estate agent, Mrs. Wolfe, that will scare you senseless and knock your socks off. And with this one scene, Ellis turns the narrative on its ear. You will wonder if Bateman is really the monster he makes himself out to be. If he is, he is not the only monster in this book. And if he???s not, then what???s really going on? Is Bateman a psychopath, or is he experiencing some sort of psychotic break? The whole story comes a little unhinged before coming to an end that satisfies without clarifying a thing.

    There were times when I thought I???d never make it to the end. At certain points, I was convinced it was the most unnecessary book ever written. I???m glad I stuck with it.

    32 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Marlton, NJ, USA 09-22-09
    Debra Marlton, NJ, USA 09-22-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Give it time to digest"

    It took a couple of days after I finished the book to begin to appreciate it. It is true that some of the content contains some extremely hard core violence and sex but moving past that, admittedly not easy, there is another level to this book. Is Patrick Bateman guilty of crimes or fantasy? The excessive description of the clothing although annoying serves a purpose of showing the reader that the characters are all focused, to the point of obsession, on all the wrong things.
    When the critics are comparing his work to Dostoyevsky you have to expect depth and tragedy.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert E. Scarcelle 09-09-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW"

    This is a book you will either love or hate. I have to admit I grew a bit tired of having to hear what everyone was wearing throughout the book, however, it eventually became humorous. This book made me laugh out loud at times and at others actually wretch. Having seen the movie I knew the general storyline, that being said the movie was as distrubing as an After School Special in contrast to the book (not for those with weak stomachs). The audio quality and narration were outstanding and I only hope to hear this narrator again as I felt he nailed an incredibly complex character.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JAMIEE Haleiwa, HI, United States 01-28-11
    JAMIEE Haleiwa, HI, United States 01-28-11
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    "Oh my."

    Unbelievable. At times I thought I couldn't go on, but like a train wreck, I couldn't turn away. I can see how some of the other reviewers quit listening. The mundane details were a bit tedious at first, but toward the end I really grew to appreciate that part of the story. The graphic scenes were so revolting. The humorous scenes, so hilarious. The depiction of Patrick Bateman's obsessions so intense. The book as a whole is such a masterpiece of horror and superficiality. There are scenes that will stay with me forever. Oh my.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-05-10
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 09-05-10 Member Since 2008

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "VERY well done audio version of this masterpiece"

    The book speaks for itself, so no need for me to touch on that AT ALL. However, this audiobook version is VERY well done. With the exception of only a few MINOR mistakes made by the reader, he is able to completely catipult you into the world of Patrick Bateman. By changing his voice, using different inflections and accents, and being knowledgeable of what Ellis was (probably) trying to get across, Pablo does a fantastic job reading this book aloud.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hank Mechanicsville, VA, USA 11-05-09
    Hank Mechanicsville, VA, USA 11-05-09
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    "A lust for decay"

    American Psycho tells the story of Patrick Bateman through his own eyes. He is label obsessed, narcissistic, and keen on satiating his desires no matter the price in human emotion or physical harm. The story follows his progressive insanity from mere mentions of his exploits to detailed encounters, meticulously described by Ellis. American Psycho is certainly not for everyone and will probably repulse more would be readers than attracts; however, I thoroughly enjoyed its entirety. It allows a glimpse into a life that is privileged with wealth, beauty, and intelligence but depraved of all real human emotion that a 'normal' person might possess. "I'm utterly insane" sums up Bateman and his exploits. If you do not wish to delve into this wild, seldom spoken about path in the character's life then American Psycho isn't for you.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bay Area, California 04-29-13
    Amazon Customer Bay Area, California 04-29-13 Member Since 2007

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for everyone"

    This book does have very graphic sex and violent scenes and some readers will not be able to get past this. If you persist to the end you will get a fuller picture of Patrick Bateman, although many questions still remain after the end of the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Camarillo, CA, United States 08-22-10
    Sharon Camarillo, CA, United States 08-22-10 Member Since 2002
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    "Admittedly powerful, but can't get through it"

    I suspect that this book delivers exactly what the author intended - a backdrop of a banal, empty lifestyle that I found horrific in itself, contrasted with graphic sex and violence. I appreciate my life and values more for having listened. But I can't take any more. You might laugh to know I haven't heard Bateman kill anyone--I keep falling asleep, thankfully not in the car. Today I woke when I think a murder was in the making and found I just didn't want to hear it. I was plenty ready to have Bateman kill one of his vapid acquaintances or dates, but not this stranger and dog. I may or may not listen to more. I may try the written version. Kudos to the author for creating a powerful experience--but what I've picked up so far is enough for me.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara G. Galindo Salt Lake City, UT 10-24-11
    Lara G. Galindo Salt Lake City, UT 10-24-11 Member Since 2009

    Lara Novell-Galindo

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gild the Lily? F*&k the Lily & Eat Its Head!"

    PABLO SCHREIBER does a FANTASTIC JOB with this text. He manages each scene flawlessly: No matter how many characters it may have; no matter how unreliable the narrator may be at that point; no matter how nauseatingly grisly or egregiously disgusting the scene may be, etc., Schreiber delivers a realistic and engaging interpretation of the text. Schreiber does a GREAT JOB with subtle variations in accent, cadence, etc. so that age, gender, race, status, etc. are easily discernible. Whenever the text allows the narrator to be "human", Schreiber voices the words as "human". When the text is "viol-goro-pornographic", Schreiber finds a suitable, neutral voice.

    Look for Pablo Schreiber in movies, TV, and audiobooks. Honestly!! He transformed this Alt-XXX-Wannabe-Art-Trash into something listenable.

    As for the text, it has several scenes of XXX-Rated, putrid violence. Everything that could be said about this repulsive book has already been said, I imagine. Just in case, however, I'll add a quick review:

    In some senses, the book is a time capsule doomed to obsolescence within a very few years of its 1991 publication. With the recent financial crises, it regains a certain seeming-relevance. Ellis' portrayal of the soulless, money-grubbing, label-chasing, status-craving, stimulus-glutted, and stimulus-starved "Yuppy" seems spot on to the middle-class reader.

    Ellis wants to walk the lines between hyper-f*&ing-horrible realism / allegorical generalization/ and hyper-f*&ing-horrible surrealism. To the extent that he exposes the superficiality, greed, solipsism, and depersonalization of the period's "sorta'-super-rich" Yuppy, and suggests the connection between those overly-powerful Yuppies and the larger societal values and economic realities... TO THAT EXTENT -- he has done a bang-up, top-notch, "radical", super job.

    Too bad it's so superficial, because even worse than its superficiality -- And I suppose I'll be luring listeners into buying this TRASHY TRAVESTY by writing this -- is the fact that Bret Easton Ellis' point(s)(?) could have been made just as easily and much more well without the XXX-Rated Violence.

    I abhor censorship and would never bring this idea to reality, but: It seems that ANY competent, literate person could preserve the worthwhile aspects of this novel while trimming the most abhorrent passages WITH A... Wusthof Classic Heavy Chef's Knife with heavy, 14-inch blade (for larger hands), and traditional, triple riveted, ergonomic handle design; precision forged from a single sheet of steel with bolster and full tang"

    In short, "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis is a gold-plated, awfully-dated, XXX-rated, piece of "Gold Cretaceous Fossil Pyritized Coprolite"

    Still... Pablo Schreiber was really great.

    13 of 22 people found this review helpful
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