Less Than Zero

Narrated by: Christian Rummel
Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (497 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money – a place devoid of feeling or hope.

Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college and re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porsches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin. Clay's holiday turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs, and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Bret Easton Ellis' book, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview that begins when the audiobook ends.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©1985 Bret Easton Ellis (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

" Catcher in the Rye for the MTV generation." ( USA Today)
"A killer - sexy, sassy, and sad.... It's a teenage slice-of-death novel, no holds barred." ( Village Voice)
"One of the most disturbing novels I've read in a long time. It possesses an unnerving air of documentary reality." ( The New York Times)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Realistically good

I enjoyed the movie but absolutely loved the book. Ellis is an excellent writer and it's a shame the movie couldn't quite capture his writing abilities. He's so descriptive and details. Great musical references, lots of drugs and sex and overall, I'd certainly recommend this for anyone who could relate to the Hollywood lifestyle from back in the 80s.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Full of atmosphere of a certain time and place

Any additional comments?

First of all, the narrator was fabulous. He was just right for this. The book does not have a false word in it, and the author succeeds in making the characters, rich wastrels though they are, into people I cared about. But, you'll be glad they don't live next door. Less Than Zero held my interest all the way through.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Messed up. But listen to the author commentary.

A little too fucked up for me. I am all for the dark shit, but this is is meant to trigger people. I would have enjoyed it more when I was younger.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

How one wishes this writer was without talent!

I'm afraid I almost OD'd on L.A. novels this week. Started with 'Less than Zero', added 'The Black Dahlia', and finished with 'The Day of the Locusts'. Let me just say, I'm definitely not planning on moving to that City of Angels where people and their dreams both go to die. A visit of 3 days was just enough to reestablished my conviction.

I had a hard time deciding whether to read 'Less than Zero'. I hold B.E.E. with a certain level of contempt. My feelings about him are similar to Norman Mailer's:

"How one wishes this writer was without talent!"

I would only add, how I personally wish this writer was without a Twitter account. I debate in my mind if I could, with a switch, delete all of Twitter (every tweet) I think I would just to eliminate B.E.E.'s toxic presence there. Which is I guess throws me firmly into the Franzen camp (and not obviously into the Jennifer Weiner camp).

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A classic BEE novel.

Of course it's dark. It's Ellis. A mix of the apparent nihilism of the "latch-key" generation set in Hollywood. Beautiful wealthy teens with nothing to believe in. The hell of a constant paradise.

Its funny that he wrote about this in the 80's because I went through something very similar in the late 00's with the punk scene in NM. Angry teens with no parents in site. everyone fucked up on something and always getting in trouble I guess it took a while for the mindset to spread. Now there almost seems to be a puritanical rebound after 08. Everyone strongly believes in something and is angry. I've always been so curious to know what it would be like to be a beautiful wealthy person living amongst the elites. I think Ellis makes you see yourself for who you really are. The frustration with passivity amongst "evil" people. Yet, you're confronted with your own sick voyeuristic curiosity. "Why am I here? Why am I still reading?" Because you want to see how bad things can get. Yet, you know right from wrong. You're not that bad.

Also glad they got the same narrator from American Psycho. I think he adds style to the reading. Even makes voices for when the characters are smoking joints and holding in while talking.

Listen to his podcast if you like his books!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Makes you feel Hopeless

I think this book is really well written - every "negative" about the book seems to be intentional as if that's the point. None of the characters are particularly unique or memorable, but that's kind of the point. Not much action happens, but that's kind of the point. Some of the things that DO happen are shocking and disturbing, but that's kind of the point.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Rich kids rape and trick for drugs

Didn't really care for this book, very overrated and disgusting book. All the characters are useless, wastes of time with no morals or real loyalty to each other or themselves. Clay the main character is the worst of them all cuz he just watches all this sodomy and rape go on, including a 12 yr old girl! and never does anything! Hell he even goes out with one of the guys later after the rape! shocks just to shock with no real value.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I must be missing something...

Would you try another book from Bret Easton Ellis and/or Christian Rummel?

I've read Easton Ellis and enjoyed his satire. This book...I just didn't understand. Or maybe the underlying theme is that rich people are really morally poor. That's all I got. How he got there, to that point, was not interesting for me.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Now idea.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

A tad boring. The Valley girl accents became annoying.

Do you think Less Than Zero needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.

Any additional comments?

I think I hated this book, but I don't know why. So...the book had an effect on me which is probably good news for B. Easton Ellis. There were parts of the book that took you to the summit and then you couldn't figure out how to get back down because he just left you there and moved on with not a hint of follow-up anywhere. I really hated that.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not My Type of Story

Would you try another book from Bret Easton Ellis and/or Christian Rummel?

Probably not.

Has Less Than Zero turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has made me more hesitant to try another book in this genre.

What didn’t you like about Christian Rummel’s performance?

I'm not sure if it was his narration or the material he was reading. The performances were actually quite good.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and annoyance at the characters.

Any additional comments?

I think I was hoping for something a bit more similar to "Catcher in the Rye". I gave up about half way in to the recording when I had completely lost any sense of plot.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not only is it better than the movie.

It's more dark and depressing than the movie. This is the best book by Ellis to start with.