On January 17, 2023 it will finally be available The Shardsthe highly anticipated book by Bret Easton Ellis which will be released thirteen years after his last novel, Imperial Bedrooms. As happened with White (the hybrid between essay and memoir that angered Millennials and liberals, one targeted for activism and cancel culture, the other accused of having been unable to predict and accept the Trump phenomenon), the novel had already emerged during the episodes of the writer’s podcast. As we told herein 2021 the serialization of a new, not fully identified literary product had started, The Shards, precisely, of which Ellis had taken to reading a new chapter every two weeks. The first photo of the new book (a 600-page tome) had been published in the Instagram profile of the writer as early as December 1, 2021. After a long wait, we are finally close to its release. While waiting to read it, we took a look at the first reviews.
Esquire dedicated a very long article to the book accompanied by beautiful photos of Bret Easton Ellis as a young man, because the book, as well as Lunar Park, is an autofiction: it is no coincidence that the young protagonist is called Bret, and his adolescence is very reminiscent of that of the author. Alex Bilmes of Esquire calls it “scary, macabre, violent, sexy, explicit, ambiguous, icy, funny, sad and disturbing, and so perfectly ‘Bret Easton Ellis’ that it sometimes flirts with self-parody (which, one suspects, is just the idea of the book). It’s hard to avoid the clichéd poster quote: If you like Bret Easton Ellis’ novels, you’ll love this one. If you hate Bret Easton Ellis novels, this won’t convince you otherwise.” On Guardian, Sam Byers is very positive: «optimized and strengthened, The Shards comes in printed form, and any lingering uncertainty that his brilliance lay more in acting [durante il podcast, ndr] which can be eliminated in writing. The Shards it’s not only Ellis’ strongest novel since the 1990s, it’s an all-out triumph, incorporating and subverting everything he’s done before and giving us, if we follow the book’s gleefully self-aware conceit, nothing less than the origin of the story of Ellis».
The setting is Los Angeles, the year 1981. The protagonist Bret and his group of very rich friends who go to school in BMWs and do cocaine in their huge empty houses (their parents are always traveling or on vacation). prepare for their senior year at Buckley High. While he works on the novel that we know will change his life, Less Than Zero, Bret is already cultivating the icy detachment for which he will become famous. With the arrival of a very charismatic new student, the balance of the group is broken, the atmosphere becomes, again using the words of the Guardian, «paranoid and tacitly hostile. But beneath the coldness and carnage, a new kinder quality is detectable. Where Ellis’ latest work of fiction, Imperial Bedrooms 2010, was hyper-distilled and suffocatingly dark, The Shards it is dreamlike and expansive, with longer sentences and a slower pace».