American Psycho  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

American Psycho is a 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. It is a first-person narrative of the life of a wealthy young Manhattanite serial killer. The graphically violent and sexual content was widely commented upon at the novel's release. A film adaptation was released in 2000 to mostly positive reviews. Its literary antecedent is À rebours.

It tells the story of a yuppie serial killer named Patrick Bateman, who is an aggressive, disaffected psychopath by his own admission: "I am without a single, identifiable human emotion, except for greed and disgust... I am simply not there."

Like "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" and A Clockwork Orange, American Psycho is a mordant social commentary written in the first-person, which adopts (albeit ironically) the skewed point-of-view and corrupt belief system of its anti-hero protagonist. As such, the reader is given a first-hand account of Bateman's psychopathology, which, by extension, becomes a murderous, hyperbolic parody of the corporate consumer (i.e., "yuppie") culture of urban America at the end of the twentieth century. Bateman's obsessive materialism is revealed as a compensation for his basic emotional emptiness and vapid social life. Although he initially derives a measure of satisfaction from his secret life as a brutal sadist and murderer, by the end of the novel not even sadistic sex and killing can arouse any kind of feeling in him.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "American Psycho" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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