For the last six episodes of his podcast, American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis has held readers rapt with an early 1980s story of Los Angeles high school kids who become entangled with a handsome new student named Robert Mallory — and a serial killer known as The Trawler.
Adding to the intrigue: Ellis says everything in the story really happened to him and his friends.
Ellis, a frequent critique of Hollywood and literary censorship, explained early on that he was releasing the podcast to his paid subscribers in part because he isn’t sure anyone would publish it, given its sometimes horrific contents. He has also wondered if his most successful works – including American Psycho and Less Than Zero — would find publishers today, given the sensitivities of 2020.
The new story, which Ellis has alternately described as a novel and a memoir, is full of details that might migraine the minds of modern-day publishers: a killer who trawls home before his murders (like the Manson family once did), learning their blueprints and stealing pets; underage sex; and ghastly violations involving dead fish. The working title is The Shards.
Ellis is, as he explains on the podcast, completing a new installment every two weeks in time to read it at the start of each B.E.E. Podcast. He has no editor, no notes from a nervous publisher, no corporate board worried about potential fallout. He has changed names and other details, he says, but sometimes friends from Buckley, his Sherman Oaks private school, will contact him after an episode to make minor corrections.
“This is the problem with not having an editor or a fact-checker, when you are feverishly writing down your memories and sending them out into the world without that particular guidance every two weeks,” Ellis said in the installment released Sunday. “I’m my own editor, my own fact-checker, on this book, in this audible incarnation.”
He added: “That’s not to say that there isn’t a plan with this book — there is. These things happened. It’s a story with a beginning, and a middle, and an end. And I was there. So there’s an outline I’m following, and I’m trying to tell this as straightforwardly as possible, as much as my memory permits. In other words, I’m not making this up as we go along. I already know what’s going to happen, and where to end it.”
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SOURCE: MovieMaker, Tim Molloy