Re: RARA-AVIS: 1974

From: John Williams (
Date: 06 Jul 2006

> 1974 rang false in too many ways for me to buy in.
> The corruption covering up horrible child murders, the
> police abuse of the protagonist and his subsequent
> release, and his superman ability to go on despite
> several brutal beatings and torture were too much to
> swallow.
> Also, although I'm not one to stand up and applaud
> every time another movie star comes out of the closet,
> there is a wicked streak of anti-homosexuality in 1974
> that is a little disconcerting. Mark has mentioned
> that when everyone in Ellroy's work seems to share the
> same prejudice, it makes him start to wonder about the
> author's intentions. Although I don't personally see
> that in Ellroy, I have never seen it more strongly
> present in another work than 1974. Spillane ain't
> even in the game.
> I do have to dissent here. David Peace's Quartet is to my mind the
> best work in crime fiction in the past decade. It's fair comment to
> say that 1974, the first part, is a little too obviosly indebted to
> Ellroy. And the point about the protagonist being able to take an
> unfeasible amount of punishment is also fair enough - though hardly
> unusual.

> As to the other stuff though I completely disagree. Perhaps it's a
> US/UK difference in perception thing but really the British police in
> the 1970s were that brutal and that corrupt, the torture and framing
> of the innocent was almost routine (the Birmingham Six, Stefan Kiszko,
> the Darvell brothers etc, etc, etc) and the levels of homophobia and
> misogyny (not just in the police) absolutely toxic. The suggestion
> that the prejudice is the author's own, though, is way off the mark,
> as would become increasingly clear with a reading of the following books.

> _

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Jul 2006 EDT