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Q Review | The Informers | Bret Easton Ellis

This is another one of my Goodwill finds, and the first book by Bret Easton Ellis that I’ve ever read. American Psycho is on my list to get to someday, but this one was $1.99 and flipping through the pages I was assured of a quick and dirty read, so I went for it.

I know Ellis is supposed to be (or have been?) a member of the literati of some importance, but I didn’t find this book particularly brilliant. Frankly, it felt gratuitous – and not in the fun way. More like the Kardashian Capitalism + True Crime + white people convinced of their own awesomeness to the point of self degradation way. Which is fine, I guess. The point of the book was to tell a story of self-absorbed, spoiled rich kids and their tenuous morals. It’s just been done. A lot.

To be fair, this thing was written in 1994, long before popular culture was saturated with status obsessed influencers who prize brands and appearances over true style and substance. The Informers may have been groundbreaking back then. A rare glimpse at the shitty behavior and vapid existence of the elite. But reading it in 2024, it was a big meh.

Still, I gave it three Q’s because it was an easy enough read that didn’t ask too much of me; and the gruesome climax took me by welcome surprise. Up to that point it felt like the characters were all balanced on a knife’s edge, waiting to lose their minds while forcing us to read along with their stupid lives. But when one of them finally tipped over into casual psychotic violence, it felt like the book wasn’t a complete waste of my time. Not that I adore psychotic violence – casual or otherwise – just that I needed something substantive to happen with the plot because I couldn’t find anything redeeming in the characters or their relationships.

Anyway, it was fine.

The Informers is a good weekend read for times when you’re not quite feeling nihilistic enough. I’ll still give American Psycho a try because it’s so often referenced in American pop culture, but after reading this book I’m in no real hurry.