Less Than Zero

Less Than Zero

Book - 1998
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Random House, Inc.
Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980's, Less than Zero has become a timeless classic. 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.  They live in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money in 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 Porches, 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.

Baker & Taylor
Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, a best-selling novel follows a cast of upper-class, good-looking, oversexed, drug-addled, thrill-seeking, college-age characters on the road to perdition. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Vintage Comtemporaries, 1998, c1985
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed
Description: 208 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9780679781493
Branch Call Number: Elli


From the critics

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Mar 22, 2018

Couldn't finish. No substance, basically all conversation. Enough quotation marks to last a book trilogy. Boring, monotonous, and nothing happens. About a spoiled rich kid and what spoiled rich kids do. And it seems all they do is watch MTV, do drugs, go to the movies and one up each other. Brutal. Was #1 on Esquire's 30 best books to read by 30 (for men)...won't be reading any other suggested by Esquire.

May 23, 2017

Hailing originally from L.A., I was interested to see how familiar any of this work might seem. Other than following the travails of spoiled rich brats, there's little of substance in this book. There is no plot. The characters are two-dimensional at best. None of the characters appear to care about each other or frankly, about anything. It is no surprise therefore that I found myself not caring a bit about the book-----where it went, where it might be going, and what it might be trying to accomplish. I guess the most you might gleam from this book is that rich bored kids remain rich and bored, even on a steady diet of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Maybe this is what happens to mall girls from the San Fernando Valley when they grow up.....

May 14, 2017

Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980's, 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

Mar 26, 2017

I can't say I enjoyed this book but I flew through it and recognized parts. It was a very depressing book. The way Clay goes through the motions, bored, disgusted, sometimes fascinated by events/people around him but always viewing them from a numb distance, feels very real and sad.

The flashbacks to his childhood were pretty minimal. I don't know if they left much of an impression on other readers but I guess they were meant to show why he turned out the way he did. I don't know if that was totally successful, but it added another dimension to the book for me, however minor. One character in particular from his past begins to stand out and seems to represent something for Clay, as if her absence later becomes the absence of all real feeling for him and all sense of family.

Oh god, there's a sequel?! What. NO.

Aug 16, 2016

Bret Easton Ellis peaked with this, his first book, a look at a shallow and vicious Los Angeles in the 1980's.

Sep 09, 2014

This book sucks. I officially don't like Brett. I've tried to read his works hoping he'd be comparable to Welsh or Selby. You my friend are no Irvine Welsh. I'd rather read War and Peace, again. This is the first book in a long long time I refuse to finish.

banburkr Dec 18, 2013

Incredibly bleak novel that reflects the loss of self-identity inherent to the 80's youth generation. Certainly not a feel good book.

sit_walk Jul 26, 2010

An interesting book and probably an accurate depiction of moneyed teen life in LA in the early 80s; I can see why it is a "classic". At the same time, it's a rather harrowing and ultimately dispiriting story. Not sure I want to read the sequel, Imperial Bedrooms, after getting through this.

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Jul 09, 2016

mikeehan thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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