Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellroy

Date: 25 Nov 2002

Al wrote:
> 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.
> Al

In brief response to Al's last point, in my opinion, Ellroy did a fine job of this with "The Black Dahlia". His voice knocked me for a loop, and I *heard* him here. The work of his that I have read since has, in my non-objective opinion, been a long, slow slide into self-parody.


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