Less Than Zero

Bret Easton Ellis

19 January 2023
224 pages


With an introduction by Otessa Moshfegh, author of Lapvona.

In 1985, Bret Easton Ellis shocked, stunned and disturbed with his debut novel, Less Than Zero. Published when he was just twenty-one, this extraordinary and instantly infamous work has become a rare thing: a cult classic and a timeless embodiment of the zeitgeist.

Filled with relentless drinking in seamy bars and glamorous nightclubs, wild, drug-fuelled parties, and dispassionate sexual encounters, Less Than Zero is narrated by Clay, an eighteen-year-old student returning home to Los Angeles for Christmas. Bret Easton Ellis's debut novel is a fierce coming-of-age story, justifiably celebrated for its unflinching depiction of hedonistic youth, its brutal portrayal of the inexorable consequences of such moral depravity, and its author’s refusal to condone or chastise such behaviour.

Less Than Zero has done more than simply define a genre: it continues to be a landmark in the lives of successive generations of readers across the globe.

Part of the Picador Collection, a series showcasing the best of modern literature.

An extraordinarily accomplished first novel.
The Catcher in the Rye for the MTV generation.
One of the most disturbing novels I’ve read in a long time. It possesses an unnerving air of documentary reality.