|Author||Bret Easton Ellis|
|Publication date||December 29, 1998|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 21|
|LC Classification||PS3555.L5937 G58 1999|
Set in 1996 or 1997, according to pop culture references, the novel begins in New York City, following a hip, 27-year-old model and nightclub manager Victor Ward, who spends his days and nights organizing parties and worrying whether A-list celebrities will turn up. Eventually he is given a task by a mysterious diplomat named F. Fred Palakon, which involves going to London to search for one of Ward's ex-girlfriends who has gone missing. Things begin to take a worrying turn as Ward gets mixed up with a group of terrorists in Paris.
Whilst the first half primarily introduces the characters and sets the scene, the second-half of Glamorama, when the action shifts from New York to London and then Paris, contains a great deal of extreme violence, in particular two gruesome torture sequences that feature castration and electrocution. There are also many bomb attacks, with detailed descriptions of men, women and children being blown apart, burned alive and mutilated.
The terrorists are supermodels or ex-supermodels of both sexes and though they appear to have a leader it is apparent that they get their orders and their resources from external backers who are never seen. The supermodels are presented as vacuous, arrogant and self-centered, these traits presumably being why they were recruited for terrorism.
To add to the often surreal nature of the second-half of the novel, the motives and ideology of the terrorists are never revealed. There are clues that it relates to the Middle East and that it may be linked to Victor Ward's father, who is a powerful U.S. Senator and is tapped as a Presidential Candidate.
The novel switches back and forth between first-person narration (by Ward) and third-person. A notable literary device employed by Ellis is the interjection of mention of a director and film crew following Ward about, offering him advice on what to say or what emotion to express.
As American Psycho was a satire of capitalism and consumerism, Glamorama is a satire of society's obsession with celebrities and beauty; it features a great deal of violence, black humor and surrealism. One theme is the parallel between the fear of the unlikely, horrible fate of being killed by terrorists and the fear of the extremely likely, rather less horrible fate of being unable to live up to the beauty of professional models. Both fears are fed by the media.
The novel keeps up Ellis's tradition of using characters from previous novels. Lauren Hynde and Bertrand Ripleis both return from The Rules of Attraction to play major roles in the novel. There are cameos by Mitchell Allen, Sean Bateman and Patrick Bateman, some of them only in reference and others where the character is present in the scene. Alison Poole also returns: Ellis first used her in American Psycho, but she originally appeared in Jay McInerney's novel, Story of My Life. Victor Ward himself had a relatively minor role in The Rules of Attraction, in which he was the absentee boyfriend of Lauren Hynde.
Ellis was asked about the similarities in a BBC interview. In the response to the question, he said that he is unable to discuss the similarities due to an out-of-court settlement.
In 1999, the contemporary Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero wrote a composition for chamber ensemble entitled Glamorama Spies which was inspired by the novel.
In Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis, the character is constantly spied on and, even before his consciousness becomes aware of it, he is constantly in an anxious state. Anxiolytics and some romantic intervals are not enough to stop the sensation that he is always late for something and that he is progressively losing his sense of reality. I was reading this book when Sentieri Selvaggi asked me for this piece and going from reading to writing seemed almost inevitable. Therefore, if at times you feel some hints at emotion, think about the second to last sentence of the book: "Le stelle sono reali" (the stars are real).—Lorenzo Ferrero
A movie adaptation is planned but although it was originally scheduled for release in 2004, it has been delayed.
Glitterati is a 2004 film directed by Roger Avary assembled from the 70 hours of video footage shot for the European sequence of The Rules of Attraction. It expands upon the minimally detailed and rapidly recapped story told by Victor Ward, portrayed by Kip Pardue, upon his return to the United States after having travelled extensively around Europe. In regard to expanding upon those events, the film acts as a connecting bridge between The Rules of Attraction and the upcoming film adaptation set to be directed by Avary. Avary has called Glitterati a "pencil sketch of what will ultimately be the oil painting of Glamorama."
"We'll slide down the surface of things..."
"'As a genereal rule you shouldn't expect too much from people darling,' and then i kiss her on the cheek.
'I just had my makeup done, so you can't make me cry.'"