To round out our posts on American Psycho, I wanted to share some interesting extras on the book, Bret Easton Ellis and how to enjoy Bateman’s New York in 2017.
Bateman vs. Trump
First, I had a lot of questions about my Facebook post – is Donald Trump actually Patrick Bateman’s hero? The answer is yes, he is. We learn this a few chapters after the Pastels scene. McDermott is still angry with Bateman for insulting Pastel’s red snapper pizza and has the ultimate comeback. See for yourself:
This is only one of many references to Donald Trump in American Psycho. After Bateman learns that the fictional Trump’s favourite pizza is at Pastels, he says ‘Well if it’s okay with Donny… it’s okay with me.’ And Bateman’s fiancée even calls it an obsession. So there you have it. 1980s Trump was Patrick Bateman’s hero and loved the pizza at Pastels.
Judging the book by its cover
I mentioned in my first post that American Psycho was actually canned by its first publisher, Simon & Schuster. Well, even though Vintage picked it up, they made the cost-saving decision to put the first edition out in trade paperback both in the US and the UK. Both covers depicted Bateman, but the great American illustrator, Marshall Arisman, designed the UK cover, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Part man, part demon. Dark eyes. In other words, a disturbing depiction of a disturbed man. You can see the different effect below:
Most of the contemporary reviews were pretty dire. This one from the NY Times, ‘Snuff This Book’, is particularly harsh, with the comment, ‘does things to the bodies of women not unlike things that Mr. Ellis does to prose’ (http://nyti.ms/2jwz3VA). But not everyone failed to see the books genius. In London, the Guardian review ‘An honest American Psycho’ wrote, ‘This man Bret Easton Ellis is a very, very good writer. He gets us to a T. And we can’t stand it. It’s our problem, not his.’ (http://bit.ly/2jYuO3W).
‘This is not an exit’
Regardless of what the critics said then, American Psycho has had an unexpectedly long shelf life and has a pretty serious cult status. For its 25-year anniversary, a musical even debuted on Broadway. Well-deserved praise, in my opinion. Bret Easton Ellis’ prose is considered and intelligent: American Psycho begins with a quote from Dante’s Inferno ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here…’, and ends with ‘This is not an exit’, a possible (though debated) reference to Sartre’s play, No Exit. This is brilliant writing that draws on relevant literary, historic and pop culture references throughout to satirize the dark side of the American socio-economic condition. Poignant satire that is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when American Psycho was written.
Bret Easton Ellis eviscerates the Millenials in ‘Generation Wuss’: http://www.vanityfair.fr/culture/livre/articles/generation-wuss-by-bret-easton-ellis/15837
Mapping the New York of American Psycho: https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/mapping-the-new-york-of-american-psycho/?_r=0
Business Insider, 21st-century American Psycho Food Guide: http://www.businessinsider.com/american-psycho-food-guide-2014-5?IR=T
1980s food fads (packaged ramen and ranch dressing) in my old fave, the Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/restaurants/signature-foods-of-the-1980s-6431962
Restaurant openings in 1987 NYC: http://ny.eater.com/2011/8/2/6665779/this-month-in-new-york-city-dining-1987
Super cool American Psycho screening and menu: http://gothamist.com/2013/01/15/dine_like_patrick_bateman_at_this_a.php
GQ’s get a reservation at Dorsia (though in London): http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/gq-food-dorsia-restaurant-bar-american-psycho-london
A Scouting New York walking tour of American Psycho film locations: http://www.scoutingny.com/patrick-batemans-new-york-what-happened-to-the-world-of-american-psycho/
Hope you enjoyed American Psycho as much as we did. Next up: Pride & Prejudice!