Less Than Zero is a vivid gallery of miserable, over-stimulated rich kid assholes in 1980’s Los Angeles. It doesn’t really have a story or any sort of character arc. It just sort of happens.
And for that reason, it’s a masterpiece.
It’s written from the perspective of the most likable of these assholes, a guy named Clay. Over the span of 200 pages Clay comes home from college for Christmas break, meets up with his old friends (who include an ex-girlfriend, a former friend turned heroin addict/male prostitute, a drug dealer and several other overly-tanned, drug addicted, sexually irresponsible types) and realizes that his entire world is a mess.
But don’t let that short summary fool you into thinking that this book moves like a traditional novel moves. It doesn’t. This book just glides by documenting everything going on in Clay’s life. It’s almost like a diary.
It’s captivating stuff. I can’t recommend it enough.
And if you like Less Than Zero, I recommend going out and getting the just-released sequel (yes, sequel): Imperial Bedrooms. I’m reading it now and over the first 50 pages it’s proving to be more of the same style, albeit 25 years later.
Go read. Do it.