Imperial Bedrooms is the seventh novel from Bret Easton Ellis and was released on June 15. The sequel to Less Than Zero, the young Ellis’ 1985 bestselling literary debut, which was shortly followed by film adaptation in 1987, Imperial Bedrooms revisits Less Than Zero’s self-destructive and disillusioned youths as they approach middle-age in the present day. Like Ellis’ earlier novel, which took its name from Elvis Costello’s 1977 song of the same name, Imperial Bedrooms is named after Costello’s 1982 album. In 2009, Ellis teased the first line of his novel: “They made a movie about us.” Twenty-five years on, Less Than Zero’s protagonist Clay is a screenwriter in New York, who returns to Los Angeles to cast his new film adaptation.

Excerpt from Bret Easton Ellis’ sequel to Less Than Zero.
“I love the view,” Rain says, holding a tumbler of tequila, standing on the balcony overlooking the city. I’m staring past her down at the empty space on Elevado where the Jeep was parked and it’s three in the morning and I come up behind her and down below the wind gently drapes palm fronds over the rippling water of the Doheny Plaza’s lit pool and the only light in the condo comes from the Christmas tree in the corner and Counting Crows’ “A Long December” plays softly in the background.

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” I ask. “Someone . . .more age-appropriate than me?”

“Guys my age are idiots,” she says, turning around.

“Guys my age are awful.”

“I have news for you,” I say, leaning into her. “So are guys my age.”

“But you look good for your age,” she says, stroking my face. “You look ten years younger,” she says. “You’ve had work done, right?” Her fingers keep combing the hair that had been dyed the week before. Her other hand runs along the sleeve of the T-shirt with the skateboard logo on it. In the bedroom she lets me go down on her and after I make her come she lets me slide in.

During the last week of December if we aren’t in bed we’re at the movies or watching screeners and Rain simply nods when I tell her everything that’s wrong with the movie we’ve just seen and she doesn’t argue back. “I liked it,” she will say, putting a light touch on everything, her upper lip always provocatively lifted, her eyes always drained of intent, programmed not to be challenging or negative. This is someone trying to stay young because she knows that what matters most to you is the youthful surface. This is supposed to be part of the appeal: keep everything young and soft, keep everything on the surface, even with the knowledge that the surface fades and can’t be held together forever—take advantage before the expiration date appears in the nearing distance. The surface Rain presents is really all she’s about, and since so many girls look like Rain another part of the appeal is watching her try to figure out why I’ve become so interested in her and not someone else.

Excerpted from Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis
Copyright © 2010 by Bret Easton Ellis.

  1. recordpreserveshare says:

    Thanks for sharing this mate. So keen to get my next Ellis fix.

  2. Before you go on and buy this new novel from Ellis, do read The Excerpt’s Reader’s short review of Imperial Bedrooms’ excerpt in

  3. Excerpt Reader: I read your review. ‘Less than zero’ MUST be read before “Imperial Bedrooms”…besides, LESS THAN ZERO is a 80s lit classic. A must read.

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