Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Ellroy - X-offender?

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 14 Dec 2002

> Ellroy never lets us forget his past. He recounts, at high volume,
> every sleazy little thing he did in his youth. And while I'm sure he
> was indeed a slimy little shit, I refuse to believe he is not
> his roll in the mud. It no longer has anything at all to do with
> veracity, but with myth making. He is now writing his own persona
> larger than his characters. And it is affecting his work, in my mind.
> I found the uniformity of voice, the same voice as his public persona,
> in American Tabloid incredibly tiresome. It killed my interest in
> reading any of his future fiction. And I was once a huge fan, turned
> all of my friends on to him. To my ear, with that book, he became a
> self-parody, intentional or not.
> On top of that, I could no longer ignore the racism, misogyny and
> homophobia in his books. Up until then, I had pretty much accepted
> rationalization that it was the characters and the times, not himself
> who felt that way. But it is his choice to write only about those
> (and it's not like his earlier, contemporary books didn't have similar
> characters with similar views) and those kinds of characters. Yes,
> seen Kerry's defense that he is exposing the corruption, bigotry,
> in our society. No, he's not. He's wallowing in it. And sometimes
> he's so gleeful about it that he seems to me to be championing it.
> work is pure nostalgie de la boue. He misses those (whether mythic or
> real) good old days when strong white men were strong white men, for
> good and bad, and everyone else knew their place.
> Mark
That's very much how I feel about Ellroy these days, basically after reading THE COLD SIX THOUSAND. As I don't recall having that impression after AMERICAN TABLOID, I can only conclude that what you're talking about has gotten worse, to the point at least, of making me think it was screamingly obvious. On the other hand, a couple of people at work who read it told me they liked COLD 6K but I didn't discuss the racial aspects of the book. As well as my misgivings on what I'd have to admit are I guess ideological grounds (which I usually try not to let interfere with my reading pleasure) the book was, IMO, incredibly poorly written. Makes H. P. Lovecraft & Cornell Woolrich look like Shakespeare. And, if he still is going on about panty sniffing (I don't know that he is) then you're right, enough already. It is one flogged to pieces dead horse.


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