Friday, March 10, 2006

Novel Sndtrck: Lunar Park

Play it: Novel Sndtrck: Lunar Park

With Lunar Park, Bret Easton Ellis channels a bit of Stephen King, writing a meta-fiction horror novel. Using himself as the protagonist writing a memoir, it comes across almost like a cross between A Million Little Pieces and Ju-On (The Grudge) - part fictional memoir, part poltergeist. There's a lot of passages that feel like homages to King's best moments in The Shining, Cujo and even his recent The Dark Tower series (where King similarly wrote himself into the story.) Another piece of work that's referenced often in the novel is Hamlet, with the ghost of the father haunting the son. But really, the book that has the most influence on this novel is Ellis' own American Psycho, which also haunts the novel throughout. American Psycho was an novel written about his father, with the killer Bateman as his father... not a flattering picture. His father died a year after the book was published, w/ Bret and him not speaking. American Psycho and his father both still apparently haunted Ellis, for similar and different reasons. There's a bit of underlying poignancy in the novel that has Ellis seemingly dealing with the real world haunting, and it's this aspect of the book that resonates more with me then any of his prior novels.

Ellis, who turned 41 this week, has remained single and not 'settled down.' This novel has Bret married (to a famous actress) in the suburbs (driving an SUV) and trying to connect with a son (Robbie.) Perhaps it's a vicarious exercise that comes unconsciously from someone approaching mid-life - that's a question I haven't seen posed to him in any interviews.

Throughout the novel, Ellis sets much of the mood to music, utilizing a playlist for a Halloween party his character throws in the book. The string of haunted hits help sets the mood for the rest of the novel. Later on in the movie, the use of "Sunny Side of the Street" and "The Way We Were" feel very David Lynch-like (or perhaps the Cohen Bros., depending on how you read it,) serving an interesting juxtaposition of pleasant music playing over horrifying events.

Elton John's "Somebody Saved Me Last Night" ends up being sort of a 'Lunar Park Theme Song,' as it appears four times in the book, and another three Elton John songs make appearances as well. Couple John with Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, and we have a classic rock playlist, for the most part. But the haunting theme remains throughout, nonetheless.

Earlier, Largehearted Boy polled Ellis for songs that he was listening to while writing the novel (for LB's Book Notes feature,) and Robert compiled a playlist for it over at the Radish (Play it) as well.

More:
Jayne Dennis, the fictional wife of Bret Easton Ellis in Lunar Park, has her own website
Robbie, the fictional son, has his own myspace page as well

Previously:
Novel Sndtrk: The Hot Kid
Novel Sndtrck: Glass Soup
Novel Sndtrck: White Apples
Novel Sndtrck: Kafka On The Shore (Ribaldry and Schmaltz's J Shifty)
Novel Sndtrck: Killing Yourself To Live (Drive Like Hell's Dallas Hudgens)
Novel Sndtrck: Drive Like Hell
Novel Sndtrck: Fortress of Solitude
James Frey's My Friend Leonard
Jonathon Lethem's The Disappointment Artist

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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Novel Sndtrck: Lunar Park

* "Funeral For A Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" - Elton John
* "The Ghost In You" - The Psychedelic Furs
* "Thriller" - Michael Jackson
* "Witchy Woman" - The Eagles
* "Evil Woman" - Electric Light Orchestra
* "Rhiannon" - Fleetwood Mac
* "Sympathy For The Devil" - The Rolling Stones
* "Werewolves Of London" - Warren Zevon
* "Spooky Girlfriend" - Elvis Costello
* "Time Of The Season" - The Zombies
* "One Of These Nights" - The Eagles (Rock)
* "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" - Blue Oyster Cult
* "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" - Elton John
* "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" - Billie Holiday
* "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going To Be A Long Time)" - Elton John
* "Landslide" - Fleetwood Mac
* "The Way We Were" - 101 Strings Orchestra