Vintage Contemporaries

Less Than Zero

Publisher: Vintage
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.

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People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles. This is the first thing I hear when I come back to the city. Blair picks me up from LAX and mutters this under her breath as her car drives up the onramp. She says, "People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles." Though that sentence shouldn't bother...
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PRAISE FOR

“One of the most disturbing novels I’ve read in a long time. It possesses an unnerving air of documentary reality.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Bret Easton Ellis . . . is an extremely traditional and very serious American novelist. He is the model of literary filial piety, counting among his parents Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West, and Joan Didion.” —The Washington Post

“Never has Hollywood's version of success looked so frightening in a piece of contemporary literature.” —Newsday

“Remarkable. A killer—sexy, sassy, and sad. . . . It's a teenage slice-of-death novel, no holds barred.  The feel of it hits where it hurts.” —The Village Voice