The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis is a novel that depicts the lives of several wealthy people in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Bret Easton Ellis, the author, is well known for his cold and calculating “American Psycho” stories, which make us see the society we live in in a different way. Here, with The Wreckage, he makes us aware of the frivolity of the lives of some people in the world.
In the novel we meet Clay, a wealthy young man who travels to Los Angeles to spend his Christmas vacation. Clay meets his friends, with whom he spends his days in a luxurious and uncomplicated manner. The plot takes place in a period when drug use and sexism were common among the youth to which the characters belonged. One of the most striking things in the play is the fact that all the characters seem to be inconsequential. They seem to have no purpose and don’t even bother to look for one.
Throughout the novel, everyday situations that most people do not question are presented. The author is in charge of showing the reality of young and rich people, who with their abundance of resources have vices such as drugs, alcohol and sexual experiences that we could consider “out of the ordinary”. So the lives of the protagonists revolve around this set of pleasures they have within their reach.
On the other hand, there is also a mixture of tragedies in the play. The development of the characters shows that life is not a game and that there are consequences. In addition, the author challenges the idea that wealth and status are everything in life, which is reflected in the conclusion of the story. The characters are forced to confront reality and accept the consequences of their actions.
The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis is an interesting work that shows the lives of people we might consider successful in society, but who in reality are emotionally empty. The novel shows us that wealth and success do not guarantee happiness and that, in fact, they can lead to emptiness. The story is a reflection on the society of the 80’s but it can be transferred to today’s society, where superficiality is still a constant in some sectors of the population.