I wouldn’t write American Psycho now


It feels as if I wrote American Psycho 100 years ago. I think I began it in December 1986 and finished it in December 1989; it was published in 1991. I was 22 when I started writing and 26 – the same age as Bateman – when it was ready for publication. I was young, but I felt old. I wanted to write a novel about the people on Wall Street making vast sums of money. I wanted to write about someone who was very emblematic of the period. But I was also writing about myself. On a certain level it was an autobiographical novel. In many ways Patrick Bateman was me: his rage, his disgust and to a degree his passivity stem from what I was feeling at the time. And boredom. The novel is really about my loneliness, my alienation. I wasn’t part of the yuppie culture of the America of the 80s. I identify a lot with Bateman’s criticism of the society and the culture he is in. I found myself in a similar position where I was both upset at what it meant to become an adult and also found myself attracted to certain aspects of whatever that lifestyle meant at that time. The term “yuppie” was coined in something like 1984. In retrospect, Wall Street is just wallpaper in the novel. I don’t think it would be as widely read if the point or the message of the book was specifically an attack on yuppie culture. I think there’s a larger feeling that people respond to in the book. I don’t know what that is, but it is obviously something.

more from Bret Easton Ellis at The Guardian here.