10 Books Like ‘American Psycho’ | TheReviewGeek Recommends

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis follows the story of Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker in Manhattan during the late 1980’s. On the surface, Bateman seems like a successful and ordinary yuppie, but beneath that façade, Patrick Bateman is a deeply disturbed and psychopathic individual.

In our world, he represents a scathing critique of the excessive materialism, superficiality and soullessness of 1980s Yuppie culture.  However, we also know it’s a book that explores the human psyche, especially one of a person who is slowly losing himself. Now that you’ve finished American Psycho and are looking for a similar experience, here are some recommendations that will give you that much-needed existential fix:

The Outsider by Stephen King

The Outsider and American Psycho differ in terms of genre and overall plot, however, there are similarities. If you like the theme of identity, violence and the darker side of human nature that was presented in American Psycho, then the Outsider is worth checking out. In this novel, set within the small community of Flint City, Terry Maitland, a well-respected Little League coach, is accused of a heinous crime. When evidence begins to mount up against him, it leads everyone to question whether or not the mild-mannered coach has been hiding another part of himself all along.

The Outsider shares its theme of dualistic identities and the exploration of the dark side of human nature. However, it approaches this idea in its own unique way.

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

If you are looking for a story more akin to American Psycho, or just like diving into the mind of secret psychopathic killers, then The Killer Inside Me will give you what you want. The story revolves around Lou Ford, a deputy sheriff in a small town in Central City Texas. The novel is narrated from Ford’s perspective, providing you with an intimate and unsettling view into his mind.

Like American Psycho, The Killer Inside Me offers a disturbing exploration of the psyche and the duality within. Lou Ford’s internal monologues reveal his twisted rationalizations and attempts to justify his violent actions in a similar way to Patrick Bateman’s internal musings.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

If you liked the critique of society and materialism, then Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is something you should read. The story follows an unnamed narrator who suffers from insomnia and meets Tyler Durden. Together, they create an underground fight club as a way to rebel against societal norms and find an escape from their monotonous lives

In many ways, Fight Club is similar to American Psycho. Both feature protagonists who become consumed by their own violence. Fight Club, although also exploring how the main protagonist tries to use materialism to cover up his isolation, delves more into the societal critique and the desire for liberation, while American Psycho focuses on the critique of the shallow and materialistic aspects of 1980s American society.

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

If you are looking for a book that explores more about the horrors of human nature, then The Girl Next Door is a novel that should be on your list. The story follows a teenage girl who is kidnapped and tortured by her neighbour. The book has similar themes as American Psycho: it deals with violence and murder but also explores the darker side of humanity through its characters’ personal lives.

Filth by Irvine Welsh

This novel tells the story of Bruce Robertson, a corrupt and manipulative police detective in Edinburgh, Scotland. The novel explores themes of degradation, addiction, and mental illness.

Filth and American Psycho share similarities in terms of their exploration of depravity, and their satirical nature. Filth incorporates dark humour and critiques of societal norms and values. The main protagonist Robertson, much like Patrick Bateman, is a complex and disturbing individual who has a lot of power and unchecked hedonism which should be fun for anyone who comes across him.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

This disturbing novel takes a look at violence and the nature of evil, told in the first person by its main character, Frank Cauldhame. A psychopathic teenager who grew up on a remote Scottish island, he kills animals and people alike with equal indifference.

The story takes place in 1979 and gets progressively more disturbing as it goes along; there are several scenes where Frank murders people or tortures animals that may make you want to put the book down. However, if you’ve enjoyed American Psycho then this will be right up your alley.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

If you’re looking for a book that is similar to American Psycho in tone and style, then A Clockwork Orange is a great choice. Burgess’ novel follows Alex, who leads a gang of thugs and engages in violent crimes. Alex narrates his own story from prison where he’s serving time for murder. Like American Psycho, A Clockwork Orange is told from the perspective of its main character while looking at human nature and themes that will make it unsettling to read.

Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami

If you are looking for a novel with the themes of disillusionment, and alienation, this novel will allow you to see these themes explored by Murakami. This novel is set in the mid-1970’s in a Japanese coastal town near an American Air Force base. The novel follows a group of young friends whose lives revolve around sex, drugs and rock music.

Like American Psycho, this novel is told in first person. Murakami uses the characters’ disillusionment and drug-induced experiences to offer commentary on the state of Japanese society in the 1970s. As the novel continues the violence surrounding the characters becomes denser and more intense reflecting their inner turmoil and despair.

Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr

Drugs are a big part of Patrick Bateman’s world. Bateman’s drug use serves as a means of escape and numbing himself from the emptiness and dissatisfaction he feels within his own life – so Requiem for a Dream is a good choice. It tells the story of four New Yorkers whose lives become consumed by addiction. The characters include Sara Goldfarb, her son Harry, Harry’s girlfriend Marion Klein, and Harry’s best friend, Tyrone C. Love.

Selby Jr.’s novel portrays the devastating effects of drug addiction and the profound impact on the lives of individuals caught in its grip. Throughout the book, the characters’ increasing dependence on drugs leads them down a path of despair, self-destruction, and eventual ruin. Requiem for a Dream and American Psycho both tackle the impact of addiction and societal pressure but differ in the core themes, but it is still worth the read.

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan looks at a couple, Mary and Colin, who become entangled in the world of sadomasochistic sex games. This novel explores the themes of desire, power dynamics, and the blurred boundaries between pleasure and pain.

This novel is similar to American Psycho due to its focus on the psychological power play between the characters and the allure of danger and transgression. This is similar to Patrick Bateman’s view of control, obsession and violence which is a central role in American Psycho. While the characters in The Comfort of Strangers look at sexuality and desire and use these themes to explore them. Bateman as an individual struggles with his own obsessiveness, narcissism and sociopathic tendencies which fuels his desire for control and dominance over others he comes across.

American Psycho made waves when it came out, it was controversial and spoke to the era it was satirizing. Nevertheless, it has had a huge impact on the world of literature, and it is fun to see how common themes and threads can be found in other works of literature. So if you liked American Psycho why not give these books a try? Have you read American Psycho? Have you read any of the books listed above? Do you have your own recommendations that you want to add to the list? Comment below and let us know.

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