Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980's, this coolly mesmerizing novel—now a timeless classic—is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age.
They live in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money in a place devoid of feeling or hope. When Clay comes home for Christmas vacation from his Eastern college, he re-enters a landscape of limitless privilege and absolute moral entropy, where everyone drives Porches, dines at Spago, and snorts mountains of cocaine. He tries to renew feelings for his girlfriend, Blair, and for his best friend from high school, Julian, who is careering into hustling and heroin.
Clay's holiday turns into a dizzying spiral of desperation that takes him through the relentless parties in glitzy mansions, seedy bars, and underground rock clubs and also into the seamy world of L.A. after dark.
Written when the author was 20, this first novel tells the story of Clay, a New Hampshire college student who returns home to Los Angeles for Christmas vacation. Vignettes show Clay and his friends aimlessly traveling from party to party, doing drugs, having sex with one another. PW noted that Ellis "brilliantly conveys this crowd's delirium as well as the lack of fulfillment they cannot remedy.''