RARA-AVIS: Re: Ellroy & His "Hard Read"

From: chrisaschneider@earthlink.net
Date: 12 Jul 2004

Jay Gertzman wrote:
> Aren't there at least one too many historical references [in "White Jazz"]?

Surely that's Ellroy's specialty, the fabrication of "one too many."

I actually like Ellroy, although Ellroy annoys me at least as much as he appeals to me. I haven't read "White Jazz," so I'll refrain from making comments. I will, however, pass on the joke that I traditionally repeat concerning author Ellroy's quirky notion of composing a sentence.

The Ellroys that I've read -- and also "White Jazz"? -- have this tendency to lapse into telegraph-ese, into stacatto little sentence fragments whenever the action gets particularly fervid. I suppose that the intention is to convey "More Vivid Than Vivid" in these verbal outbursts that surpass mere phrase-making. To me, though, it's merely annoying. Rather than draw me in closer, all it does is get me angry at the guy who wrote 'em.

So, basing my phrase on a line from Joe Orton's 'What The Butler Saw," I find myself repeating: "Subject! Verb! Object! It's a *fine* old tradition, and I *won't* be a party to its destruction ..."


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