News Article

Bret Speaks

The ''American Psycho'' author responds to the critics who say his book is too violent

On a recent snowy New York morning, American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, 27, gave ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY a rare interview by phone from his East Village apartment.

Have recent criticisms by Roger Rosenblatt in The New York Times Book Review and Norman Mailer in Vanity Fair shaken you?
No. I really wasn't shook up at all. I'm supposed to be taking Roger Rosenblatt seriously? I thought he made an ass of himself. When you're writing a review about a novel narrated by a serial killer and you're criticizing his grammar, I think you're losing sight of the overall picture. [As for Mailer,] the most an author can ask for is to have his book taken seriously — which I think he did, but I don't particularly agree with him.

Do you think your female friends — particularly Marla Hanson [disfigured by two male attackers in 1986] — would be offended by the book?
Marla hasn't read the book, but I don't think she'd be offended by it. I don't think anyone should be offended by it. In many ways it's about how horrible serial killers are. I can't understand how women can mistake the book for a how-to on torture and dismemberment.

In your novel Less Than Zero, a 12-year-old girl is raped. In The Rules of Attraction, a college girl has a violent sexual experience. Do you see yourself as a completely demented misogynist?
Yes. Yes I am. I am a completely demented misogynist.

Are you saying this facetiously?
What would you say if you were asked this question?

Is there a place in the literary world where you see yourself?
No. I don't. I'm on my own little island.

Originally posted Mar 08, 1994 Published in issue #56 Mar 08, 1991 Order article reprints