How dangerous is a book?

by |July 22, 2015

Recently a bookshop in Adelaide was raided by authorities because a novel was sitting on the shelf and it wasn’t wrapped tightly in plastic.

A novel not tightly wrapped in plastic? Who would have let such a thing happen?

Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis

Wait, novels aren’t usually wrapped tightly in plastic. What’s going on?

According to the authorities, this is a deadly dangerous novel.

Normal novels require someone to read them before they make them think. The authorities believe this novel can make a person think as they flick idly through the pages. And we all know how dangerous thinking is to the authorities.

Thinking is usually confined to those who read entire books. And as dangerous as this is to the authorities, readers make up such a small percentage of the population they can be safely overlooked.

But a book that can make people think just by opening its pages, this has to be suppressed.

And the book in question? American Psycho. Yep, that book by Bret Easton Ellis.

Really? But wasn’t that a comment on soulless consumerism of the 80s and 90s? How is that relevant today?

If I remember rightly the main character worked on Wall Street, was selfish, vain, immoral, valued things over people, treated women like toys, in short, was repugnant in every way.

What can the authorities have against a book which lampoons such excesses?

Oh wait…

Grab your copy of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho here

american-psychoAmerican Psycho

by Bret Easton Ellis

Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?

Patrick Bateman has it all: good looks, youth, charm, a job on Wall Street, reservations at every new restaurant in town and a line of girls around the block.

He is also a psychopath.

A man addicted to his superficial, perfect life, he pulls us into a dark underworld where the American Dream becomes a nightmare . . .

American Psycho is one of the most controversial and talked-about novels of all time. A multimillion-copy bestseller hailed as a modern classic, it is a violent black comedy about the darkest side of human nature.

About the Author

Bret Easton Ellis is the author of six novels, Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho, Glamorama, Lunar Park and most recently Imperial Bedrooms, which was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, and a collection of stories, The Informers. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. He lives in Los Angeles.

Grab your copy of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho here

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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