Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy

From: Al Guthrie (
Date: 25 Nov 2002

This discussion began with the question of whether Ellroy was a good writer or not. Here's my brief thoughts.

----- Original Message ----- From: "JIM DOHERTY" <>

>What Brian implied, and it's a fair point, is that the
>TOTAL corruption Ellroy shows, in which there is NO
>character acting from good or noble purposes is at
>least as far from reality as a presentation that
>suggests that there is no brutality, corruption, or
>racism in the ranks of American law enforcement.

Unfortunately there is no such thing as objective reality. Like the rest of us, Ellroy can't step outside his own ideological framework. He has a distrust of people. Somebody out there killed his mother. Ellroy blames everybody for her death. In his paranoid world, everybody acts out of self-interest, everybody is corrupt, everybody is a potential killer. In terms of establishing whether or not he's a good writer, it doesn't matter whether the above is true. What matters is whether or not he presents HIS truth, his worldview, convincingly.

If he does, and that's what we should be debating, then he's a good writer.


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