I am reading the new Bret Easton Ellis novel Lunar Park, and I am having a complicated relationship with it. I use to be a big fan of his, although in the last five or six years I've become less of one, having discovered that the kind of writing that I really like it something different--simpler, quieter, and "about less," which sounds goofy and somewhat counter-intuitive, but it's the only way I can think to describe it.
I'll finish the book because the narrative is really strong--and for anyone who's read Ellis throughout the years, particularly someone who considers themsevles a fan, the book is an interesting foray into his own mind, his own demons. Still, it's frustrating when gay writers don't write about their gayness. It peeks in here and there in Lunar Park, but he's invented a completely ridiculous suburban existence for himself. Which, I suppose, is also the point. Still, I wonder if there's some unfortunate chicken/egg scenario when it comes to gay work. Publishers aren't willing to take a chance on resolutely gay fiction because it doesn't sell, and it doesn't sell because writers aren't writing it because it won't sell, or it doesn't sell because--well, "gay people don't read books," as one agent said to me.
"I do," I told her. That seemed beside the point.
Had Lunar Park come from any other writer, it wouldn't be very good--it'd be derivative and maybe even cloying. But coming from Ellis, it's just interesting and creative enough to be something.