Re: RARA-AVIS: A feminist reading Goines et al.

Dave (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 11:34:19 -0800 This is a very important question.

I think the overall effect of Ellroy's is the combination of
forces/factors -- not just individual characters, but EVERYBODY is
either a borderline, psychotic, or a scumbag operating within a
base/corrupt society. In other words, nobody really identifies with
Dudley Smith, he's a heavy, anyway.

Ellroy's novels are truly Romantic. Gothic, even. His heros usually have
one mitigating character trait that makes them "likeable." Lee Blanchard
is haunted by the death of his little sister. Bud White is similarly
driven by the ritualized beating of his mother by his father. I guess we
can appreciate them as "heros" for this reason, eh? Doubtful.

The cumulative effect of his novels is more interesting -- and
compelling, like Mr. Lau says. Ellroy allows us to "glimpse the
darkness" without being consumed by it. (Ellroy's words.) But there's
also a weird macho catharsis going on when you read him -- and the
catharsis is for us, his loyal male readers. It's almost like Ellroy's
stuff is all "id," existing in a place where us regular folks would
never venture. But we can still get into it, and appreciate his total
commitment to this vision.

Bottom line? "Femmie" woman have "Wuthering Heights." Macho wannabes
have Ellroy ... and Iceberg Slim?


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