Lunar Park: From ashes to ashes | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 33, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1466-0407
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9118



Lunar Park opens with a sentence repeated from a previous novel: he states, ‘You do an awfully good impression of yourself’, thus setting the satirical and deceptive tone of the text. In this article, I will focus on two themes implicit in this sentence: that Lunar Park tracks Bret Easton Ellis’s search for his true identity and past and that this is impossible. I suggest that it is this inability to know an author, text or oneself within the context of a nation founded upon illusory ideals and their underlying fragmentation on which this book is centred.

Ellis’s semi-autobiography playfully describes America’s cultural and physical landscape as being ruptured and repressed, emphasizing the way this context has structured his own life. The novel chronicles the author’s fame and family and takes place in a suburban town outside New York City, which is under the threat of terrorist acts in a post-9/11 America. Here, the fictional character Patrick Bateman from Ellis’s previous novel American Psycho begins to haunt Ellis’s home. Since American Psycho is renowned for its critique of the American dream, in Lunar Park, Bateman can be seen as allegorizing a romanticized identity that disavows imperialism, a notion central to American Exceptionalism. It is this, I suggest, that haunts Ellis throughout the Lunar Park.

In this article, I will discuss how Lunar Park embodies Ellis’s movement towards avowal, towards recognizing those fantasies that have structured Americans’ reactions to trauma, specifically 9/11. By fabricating the past, Ellis gestures towards the impossibility of ever remembering it, as based upon his identity and book having been formed through a meaningless world where ‘publishing a shiny booklike object was simply an excuse for parties and glamour’ (Ellis 2005: 9). In so doing, I suggest that the text also invites the reader to ‘enter the fiction of America, enter America as fiction’ (Baudrillard 2010: 29) in order to break down their own illusions. Lunar Park thus materializes the falling monument it represents, exposing post-9/11 America as catastrophic while revealing its own erasure. This article will trace Ellis’s frustrated search to find and illuminate his identity as an American and author in an idea of the New World.


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