RE: RARA-AVIS: Still on early Ellroy

From: Patrick King (
Date: 14 Oct 2010

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    Half-hearted attempts with his subsequent UNDERWORLD trilogy (AMERICAN TABLOID, et al) affirmed my disinclination to continue trying to read his work.


    Do you read his memoirs? I really think MY DARK PLACES is the best book he's written. He recently followed it with THE HILLIKER CURSE, a self analysis about how the murder of his mother has tracked him through all his sexual encounters. I found it fascinating, brilliantly written. I'm not sure a name has been allotted to the mental problem Ellroy has, but he certainly has one. Nonetheless, as writers go there are not many alive or dead who are in his class. He's developed a very successful technique at seducing a large reading public. His technique with women, judging by THE HILLIKER CURSE, is not as successful but it's pretty amusing. His honesty makes Henry Miller seem disingenuous. I happened to get that on audio for a long trip I was taking and he reads it himself, adding to the weirdness. If you've ever heard Ellroy lecture, you know what I mean. I've enjoyed several of his longer books on audio, BLOOD'S A ROVER, for example, but found so many
     quotable moments I had to get the print copy, too. What can I say? I'm a fan. I just love the guy. I honestly think he's a genius.

    Patrick King


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