Shattered Innocence

Bret Easton Ellis and Emma Clare Gabrielsen

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Bret Easton Ellis and Emma Clare Gabrielsen

It is a rare occation when the author of cult books such as American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction releases his first novel in 13 years. For readers of Bret Easton Ellis’s earlier books, The Shards has a familiar atmosphere, and he doesn’t shy away from explicit descriptions of sex or violence.

We are in early 80s LA, and the main character, Bret Ellis, is 17 and a senior at the prestigious private school Buckley. A charming new student in class challenges Bret’s attempt to hide his attraction to men.

But something darks lurks beneath the glossy surface. The story is told by a now middle aged Bret revisiting the fatal senior year when a serial killer appeared in LA. Leafing through his old yearbook, he notices the five classmates that are missing.

Ellis likes to provoke, both in fiction and in public debate. The Shards is no exception. First published in serial format on Ellis’s own podcast, the story is passed off as a memoir based on Ellis’s own experiences, much like the earlier Lunar Park. As the serial killer moves ever closer to Bret’s circle, the book also describes Bret’s sexual and literary awakening, making it as much a story of the author’s journey into writing.

When Ellis visits the House of Literature for the first time, he is joined on stage by Emma Clare Gabrielsen, who has worked for many years as a journalist in Natt & Dag, DN and Norwegian broadcasting NRK.

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