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Extended Audio Sample Imperial Bedrooms Audiobook, by Bret Easton Ellis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,229 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bret Easton Ellis Narrator: Andrew McCarthy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN: 9780307735065
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Bret Easton Ellis’s debut, Less Than Zero, is one of the signal novels of the last thirty years, and he now follows those infamous teenagers into an even more desperate middle age.

Clay, a successful screenwriter, has returned from New York to Los Angeles to help cast his new movie, and he’s soon drifting through a long-familiar circle. Blair, his former girlfriend, is married to Trent, an influential manager who’s still a bisexual philanderer, and their Beverly Hills parties attract various levels of fame, fortune, and power. Then there’s Clay’s childhood friend Julian, a recovering addict, and their old dealer, Rip, face-lifted beyond recognition and seemingly more sinister than in his notorious past.

But Clay’s own demons emerge once he meets a gorgeous young actress determined to win a role in his movie. When his life careens completely out of control, he has no choice but to plumb the darkest recesses of his character and come to terms with his proclivity for betrayal.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Taut and ultimately terrifying….In six novels, the author has emerged as one of the most gifted and serious novelists working in America today. Hari Kunzru, Financial Times

  • Brutally conceived, and effectively done….There is no doubt that Ellis retains the ability to startle and disquiet. Stephen Abell, The Times Literary Supplement
  • Ellis remains a bold ignorer of literary boundaries.  Imperial Bedrooms is but another unexpected swerve in a wonderfully weird career.” J. Robert Lennon, London Review of Books
     
  • Enough talk of [Ellis's] literary genius, let's call him what he really is: a terrific horror writer.  Imperial Bedrooms is an absolute creepfest [and] a festival of panting paranoia. Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times
  • A profoundly talented—and occasionally even brilliant—writer…Ellis has a fictional territory all his own and, heaven forbid, a mastery there. Jeff Simon, Buffalo News
  • A page-turning read [with] a sneaky subtlety…Holding a mirror to our desires, Ellis shows us how much scarier what we think we want can be when severed from even the possibility of innocence, [employing] noirish staples to lure his reader along while subtly circling back to the older—and more frightening—theme: the dead soul. Michael McGregor, The Oregonian
     
  • “Hypnotic…A haunting vision of disillusionment, twenty-first-century style.”

    People

  • This is the most Chandleresque of Bret’s books, and the most deeply steeped in L.A. noir…As Dante’s hell is circular, so is [Ellis’s] L.A. Everywhere in Imperial Bedrooms there is a sense of time frozen, time collapsed and time rounding back on itself in various diabolical ways…What stays with [the reader] is not so much the concluding note of betrayal and horror as the mournfulness of the book, its eerie sense of stasis: clear skies, vacuum-sealed calm, the BlackBerry flashing on the nightstand in the middle of the night, everywhere the subliminal hum of menace. Donna Tartt, Amazon.com
  • A page-turner…Imperial Bedrooms is a quicker, more controlled fire than its predecessor, and, like a good showman, Ellis has learned to save the best of the novel’s many tricks for last…Devastating…Old age and treachery have served Bret Easton Ellis quite well. Foster Kamer, The Village Voice
  • Arrestingly spare…Imperial Bedrooms will leave you feeling bruised, guarded and a little nervous about noises at night…What you really notice is Ellis's newfound love of noir.  He's reinvigorated and ready to get mysterious and mean…As ever, Ellis's details crystallize into elegant remoteness (and) if this is shallowness, the word needs a new definition. Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
  • It’s worth following Ellis down this rabbit hole. Sam Kaplan, Philadelphia City Paper
  • Hypnotic…A haunting vision of disillusionment, 21st-century style. People Magazine
  • This sequel is very much on target…[Ellis] uses the thriller framework to infuse nerve-rending unease into this look at Tinseltown mores, a dissection that also comes nicely weighted with both bleak hilarity and firsthand authorial experience. Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly
  • Visceral and often harrowing, Ellis delivers a work that matches such career peaks as Lunar Park and the infamous American Psycho…It is remarkable how [he] has tailored the narrative in exactly the same style as the original novel, yet offering an assured and mature voice to chronicle Clay’s nightmarish return to L.A. Jorge Carreon, The Examiner
  • Reading Ellis is a thrilling and strangely voyeuristic experience, [and] you can’t look away. Venus Zine
  • Its dirty charms are indisputable. Amy Grace Lloyd, Playboy Magazine
  • Ellis explores what disillusioned youth looks like twenty-five year later in this brutal sequel to Less Than Zero….The story takes on a creepy noirish bent as it barrels toward a conclusion that reveals the horror that lies at the center of a tortured soul….Though the novel's synchronicity with Zero is sublime, this also works as a stellar stand-alone. Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • “This sequel is very much on target…[Ellis] uses the thriller framework to infuse nerve-rending unease into this look at Tinseltown mores.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “In the same staccato prose that made [Less Than Zero] feel frighteningly fresh twenty-five years ago, Ellis paints a creepy LA.”

    USA Today

  • “Enough talk of [Ellis’] literary genius, let’s call him what he really is: a terrific horror writer…An absolute creep-fest [and] a festival of panting paranoia.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Taut and ultimately terrifying…In six novels, the author has emerged as one of the most gifted and serious novelists working in America today.”

    Financial Times (London)

  • “Brutally conceived, and effectively done…There is no doubt that Ellis retains the ability to startle and disquiet.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Visceral and often harrowing, Ellis delivers a work that matches such career peaks as Lunar Park and the infamous American Psycho.”

    Examiner

  • “Its dirty charms are indisputable.”

    Playboy

  • “Arrestingly spare…will leave you feeling bruised, guarded, and a little nervous about noises at night.”

    Time Out New York

  • “A page-turning read…Ellis is showing us what has changed in twenty-five years—not just in his characters or in Hollywood but in America and maybe the world.”

    Oregonian

  • Imperial Bedrooms is a quicker, more controlled fire than its predecessor, and, like a good showman, Ellis has learned to save the best of the novel’s many tricks for last.…Devastating.”

    Village Voice

  • “Reading Ellis is a thrilling and strangely voyeuristic experience, [and] you can’t look away.”

    Venus Zine

  • “A book with pleasurable sentences and tensions; with pulpy twists and shivering scenarios.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Ellis fans will delight in the characters and Ellis’ easy hand in manipulating their fates, and though the novel’s synchronicity with [Less Than Zero] is sublime, this also works as a stellar stand-alone.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 2/6/2014

    " The Rat Pack from Less Than Zero is back in a dark continuation of debauchery in L.A. Clay returns to entangle himself in a conspiracy after he falls for an aspiring actress, Rain. And that's pretty much the whole plot. Clay runs into old companions along the way including Blair and Julian and imbibes plenty of alcohol to fuel his affair with Rain. What drives this book is the pervading sense of paranoia that Clay experiences. It creates a tangible tension as Clay's anxiety grows. While the mood is effective, I didn't find the story itself very engaging. Clay and his friends are far from sympathetic and his depravity is nothing new. The motives and consequences of his involvement in the shady scheme aren't ever fully revealed which made the conclusion a disappointment. Imperial Bedrooms lacked the originality of Bret's other books and felt rehashed. If you are a die-hard Bret fan by all means, you will like this book, but people like me who didn't get much out of Less Than Zero shouldn't waste their time on this. I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine Program. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rusik | 2/6/2014

    " clumsy, unfocused. dissolves into last-attempt ultraviolence, without effect. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/5/2014

    " Not as good as Less Than Zero (or the previous 3 books that I rated 4 stars). That being said, well worth a read (although not a sequel that you can just pick up, 1st book definitely necessary). The style is great, the characters are brilliant and I love the way the tension ramps up and up and up. Also, without giving anything away, I think the ending is absolutely fantastic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Inês | 2/4/2014

    " Not his finest work. Entertaining but lacks something. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaron | 2/4/2014

    " Not my favorite book by Ellis (I've read all but American Psycho). The best thing about it was that it only took me 2 days to read. I like his prose style, I just didn't care for the plot at all. Lunar Park was very similar but far superior. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nina Cowley | 1/22/2014

    " This haunted me, and not in a good way. Ellis' writing always leaves me feeling like I have bugs crawling on my skin. The story is nothing like it's predecessor. The only thing that remained the same was that the characters apparently have no souls. They stay completely unaffected by all of the horror that they cause. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Heather Moss | 1/18/2014

    " I so rarely give up permanently on a novel, but I did this one. I read Less Than Zero when I was fourteen and loved it, but I have grown since then and expect the author to have done so. Alas, it didn't seem that way to me. I was bored. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 1/18/2014

    " Sociopath American Psycho with a bit of self-reflective Lunar Park with a bit of LA satire Less Than Zero and the glam of Glamorama. Ellis has written a pastiche of his own work in order to remind us that he can write violence and violent sex well, not to mention characters so isolated from themselves and each other that they disappear here. What intrigues me about this is that he resurrects his first narrator to no effect. And it doesn't resurrect Ellis--just allows him to engage once again with 80s music allusions. Or maybe he's just being ironic--what would anyone expect of these characters but less than zero? A sequel that delivers exactly what these characters have become--versions of themselves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Gardner | 1/11/2014

    " A sequel to Less Than Zero that feels a little forced at times but was still engrossing and a nice revisiting of the Beverly Hills kids. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marsha | 1/8/2014

    " Didn't enjoy this at all. Why would anyone give a shit about these hideous people. Not me so much! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy Lamare | 1/2/2014

    " What started out as a fun look into the lives of the characters from Less Than Zero 25 years later devolved into American Psycho level of sadism, sexual perversion,torture and ultimately complete nihilism. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Suzanne | 11/21/2013

    " A book about emptiness, written with no soul, with no meaning. Waste of time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anthony Cashin | 11/13/2013

    " Like all of Ellis' books, I couldn't stop reading it. It was repetitious, depressing, and ultimately sickening, but there is something about Ellis' writing that draws you in to a world you hope doesn't really exist. It seems real and he forces you to watch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thersea | 11/11/2013

    " Sadly, I loved it! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jess | 10/28/2013

    " Awful and silly. But short, so it has one characteristic worth praising. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 garret lee | 7/31/2013

    " brutal book, but classic Ellis.... characters do a total 360 from 'Less Than Zero.' "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lobstergirl | 11/14/2012

    " I guess like Philip Roth, Ellis keeps writing the same novel over and over. This is Less Than Zero crossed with American Psycho and Glamorama. I hope the aftertaste won't linger too long. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Troy | 8/11/2012

    " Contains maybe 10 pages of good writing at the beginning and end but otherwise contains porn-level dialogue and beyond-tedious plotting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Klay Kubiak | 6/27/2012

    " Decent story in this sequel to Less Than Zero, but characters aren't well-written. A pretty lazy effort by Ellis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 hirtho | 3/29/2012

    " gf got the audiobook so i listened to it a few weeks after i read it, Andrew McCarthy doing it was pretty great "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 3/16/2012

    " Loved it. Knew I would:) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rnugent | 2/26/2012

    " Didn't do it for me "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert Pereno | 10/21/2011

    " This novella is like watching a nasty dark art house movie. An ugly story packaged well by the oh! so cool Mr. Ellis' not sure iif m being isardonic . This is not a novel but a short story dragged out to make an average novella. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nicole G. | 10/1/2011

    " I thought American Psycho, while at times cringe-worthy in its explcitness, was rather brilliant. This just lacked something. I still finished it, because it was a trainwreck. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jay | 6/28/2011

    " Short novel of Hollywood life, becoming cold and disturbing by the end. Mixes in a little mystery story line. Listened on audio narrated by Andrew McCarthy - he really added to the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Klay | 6/14/2011

    " Decent story in this sequel to Less Than Zero, but characters aren't well-written. A pretty lazy effort by Ellis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 6/6/2011

    " What can I say, I love Bret Easton Ellis. His nihilistic lyric thrills me every time. This book doesn't disappoint but it's not Less Than Zero. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ames | 6/1/2011

    " Possibly one of the worst books I've ever read in my life. Unbelievably bad. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ktornbjerg | 5/31/2011

    " This is quite decent, I thought. Ellis fans - like myself - should find it worth a read, but the ending let me down a bit. I thought the final words seemed a bit obvious, like explaining why your joke is funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 5/19/2011

    " Not bad, quite a short book and I realise I should have probably read the first book about these characters first but didn't realise at the time, a bit gruesome in parts. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 5/18/2011

    " What started out as a fun look into the lives of the characters from Less Than Zero 25 years later devolved into American Psycho level of sadism, sexual perversion,torture and ultimately complete nihilism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dafarrell | 5/13/2011

    " Good to see the band back together again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ken | 5/12/2011

    " Disappointing sequel to Less than Zero. Goes down some dark places. Almost like Ellis thought this was a sequel to American Psycho instead. "

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About the Author
Author Bret Easton EllisBret Easton Ellis is the author of Glamorama; The Informers, a collection of stories; American Psycho; The Rules of Attraction; and Less Than Zero, all of which are available in Vintage paperback. He lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Andrew McCarthy is a writer, actor, and director. He is an editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler and has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Wall Street JournalBon Appétit, Afar, and others. His book The Longest Journey Home was named a best book of 2012 by the Financial Times (London). He has won six Lowell Thomas Awards, and the Society of American Travel Writers named him Travel Journalist of the Year in 2010. He made his acting debut at nineteen and has appeared in dozens of films, including Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, and The Joy Luck Club. He lives in New York.