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

From: Chris M (
Date: 13 Jul 2004

A different Chris wrote:
>>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 enjoy the rat-a-tat syle, which Ellroy claims that this began as a way to cut down the length of L.A. Confidential. Still, I can see how it would annoy.

And Kevin said:
>So whatever Ellroy does (or doesn't do) for you, rest assured it's not some
>spontaneous literary style bursting out of nowhere, the result of
>unfettered genius, but a carefully worked out, studied and deliberate
>style, a lengthy and extensive process that requires a lot of reworking and
>laboring over the manuscript from both the author and the editor. Doesn't
>exactly play into the literary enfant terrible mythos, does it?

To use comments about Brown's Requiem when discussing Ellroy's writing is a bit in bad faith. Ellroy was teaching himself as he went along with those early books and his recent books bear little resemblance to his early work. With Ellroy, I'm never sure how much is true and how much is legend, but from the description of that period in his life in My Dark Places, it is not surprising that his first novel would be sloppy and semi-coherent. Admittedly, I read My Dark Places before reading Brown's Requiem, so I couldn't just take the work at face value. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that Penzler's comments are accurate and commended him for spotting the value in some unheard of caddy's first draft.

Though Ellroy has certainly built up many myths around himself and his genius, as far as I know, he has never claimed that his style anything but carefully worked out or labored. From the two times I've heard him speak, it seems as though he dwells quite a bit on the process, frequently mentioning that the books are the product of much hard work, writing, and re-writing. How many times have we heard about the 800 page outline to American Tabloid or the fact that he has two researchers and a fact checker working with him?

_________________________________________________________________ Check out the latest news, polls and tools in the MSN 2004 Election Guide!

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 13 Jul 2004 EDT