About 30 pages into his latest book, Bret Easton Ellis claims that "all of it really happened, every word is true." Don't you...

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“Lunar Park”
by Bret Easton Ellis
Knopf, 308 pp., $24.95

About 30 pages into his latest book, Bret Easton Ellis claims that “all of it really happened, every word is true.”

Don’t you believe it. In fact, “Lunar Park” is a con job, a tease, a truth-or-delusion game Ellis is playing with the reader.

And for two-thirds of the book’s length, he plays it well. The opening chapters appear to be the autobiography of a character named Bret Easton Ellis, famous for having written “American Psycho,” once identified as gay, but now trying to settle down with a wife and son.

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Yet he comes off as an over-the-top caricature, so wasted by cocaine and alcohol that it’s a miracle he can function. He even claims to have overdosed in a Seattle hotel, where he officially died for three minutes. Bret’s “true story” seems increasingly bogus.

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Bret Easton Ellis


The author reads from “Lunar Park,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6, at Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., Seattle; free (206-624-6600 or www.elliottbaybook.com).

Who is this wife, for instance? Jayne Dennis is described as an actress who was Keanu Reeves’ confidante and is a big enough star to earn $4 million to $5 million per movie. According to a Web site devoted to her, she starred in the “Oscar-nominated” 1991 film “Liz Lotito.” If you don’t recall it, neither does the Motion Picture Academy.

Ellis also claims to live in a country where suicide bombers routinely blow themselves up at Wal-Marts, major cities are surrounded by barbed wire and bulletproof vests are selling like Hula Hoops. Could this be a tale told by a drug-addled idiot, full of Ellis humbug and signifying nothing?

Long before it’s over, that’s what “Lunar Park” looks like. Pretending to feel guilt about being a deadbeat dad, claiming that his home is filled with monsters, worrying about the impact of “American Psycho” on copycat killers, Ellis can cry wolf for only so long. In the end, it’s hard to buy any of it.