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 12:00 AM, 14-SEPTEMBER-06
 
Lunar Exorcises Ellis' Ghosts

Best-selling author Bret Easton Ellis, whose novel Lunar Park is currently a World Fantasy Award finalist for best novel, told SCI FI Wire that the novel grew out of his desire to write a Stephen King homage. "But at the same time, I also wanted to pay homage to a lot of the comic books that I loved as a kid," Ellis said in an interview. "[I also] wanted the book [to be] about a writer who's kind of disintegrating and his life is falling apart. The supernatural elements were the outcome of a much more realistic story about a man who [is] sort of losing control of the present because he hasn't reconciled with the past, [and] so the past is coming back to haunt him."

Ellis, who achieved early celebrity with his first novel, Less Than Zero, said that the protagonist of Lunar Park shares his name and much of his personal history. "In order to get back some sense of normalcy to his life, he ... [moves] to the suburbs and [tries] to live the life of the diligent dad, even though he was a big-city party boy, more or less," Ellis said. "He wants to reconnect with his son, and he wants to live a quiet life, but he hasn't reconciled a lot of the issues of his past, mainly the very difficult relationship [he had] with his father. So he moves into this house and [thinks] that [it's] haunted, and he slowly begins to [realize] that the house isn't haunted, he is haunted."

Like the protagonist of the novel, Ellis said that he also had a tempestuous relationship with his father, a wealthy Los Angeles real-estate developer. "I figured, 'Well, this is a really autobiographical novel. This is really personal stuff. Why not just go all the way and make it you and put yourself into this 'haunted house' novel, and put all of the stuff that happened to you in this book?'" he said.

The personal nature of the narrative made writing it a therapeutic experience for Ellis, he said. "I hate to say it, but ... by the time I got to the end of the book, yes, it was therapeutic. There were a lot of issues with my dad, who, like the father in the book, passed away in 1992 and who I did have an extremely difficult relationship with and had a lot of unresolved feelings about. ... Forgiveness entered the picture finally about 12 years after he died. I finished the book in the summer [of] 2004, so [that's when] it finally came to rest, and writing the book was what did it. For my sisters, ... other things that they experienced helped them deal with [his] death. .... For me it was fiction writing. For me, it was writing this book in particular, so it was very therapeutic."

Ellis recently relocated to Los Angeles to work on his next project, which will be a follow-up to Less Than Zero. —John Joseph Adams
 


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Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 1/14/08 - 1/20/08. Fewer than 10 listings appear because fewer than 10 different SF&F series aired in syndication this week.