Let's not even try to review Bret Easton Ellis' new novel, "Imperial Bedrooms" as literature. Instead let's just treat it as a fashion object which is what a good book ends up as in our world. "Imperial Bedrooms" is an ultra-shrewd and largely critic-proof piece of fetish literature. I say fetish literature because Bret Easton Ellis has turned a pretty clever trick. He has rendered himself a kind of one man genre. As such "Imperial Bedrooms" gives the people just what they would expect from a sequel to "Less Than Zero" The flat effect language...deadpan and drop dead...a smattering of au courant brand names (a white Tom Ford suit works a particularly graphic moment)..the suffocating sense of impending horror and then the payoff of the gory horror that you've been long promised leaving you disturbed and depressed at the end.
Everybody who read "Less Than Zero" is going to feel compelled to buy "Imperial Bedrooms". I read Ellis's latest novel on the plane in from LAX. It's a slight book, less than 200 pages of minimalistic Ellis text so it was a quick read. Reading Imperial Bedrooms while leaving LA was a really good look. Why? Because of Chip Kidd's graphic design of the book jacket. Look at what it does. "Imperial Bedrooms" as a title is rendered in miniscule type to form the eyes of the devil figure on the cover. Yet Bret Easton Ellis' name is blasted in a font perhaps 90% the scale of the title text on both the cover and the spine of the book jacket. The color scheme is black, red and white , a classic and eye catching combination. As such the eye process the book simply as BRET EASTON ELLIS .The devil sillhouette invokes the spirit of "American Psycho without having to drop a sash on the book jacket that says " By the author of "American Pyscho" The actual title of Imperial Bedrooms is immaterial and irrelevant. Bret Easton Ellis is the brand that sells. All that is communicated by the graphic design with ruthless efficency and absolutely no subtlety. It makes it a genius book to leave lying around your well appointed condo. Kindle be damned.