“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nobody Move, This Is A (Short) Review: THE HILLIKER CURSE: MY PURSUIT OF WOMEN by James Ellroy

James Ellroy has written about the impact of his mother’s murder in the memoir MY DARK PLACES (1996), and dedicated his novel THE BLACK DAHLIA (1987) to her memory. THE HILLIKER CURSE: MY PURSUIT OF WOMEN (William Heinemann, £16.99) is another memoir, but here Ellroy broadens his remit to discuss how Geneva Hillker’s murder in 1958, when Ellroy was ten years old, set the life-long agenda for his relationship with the opposite sex. Rigorously honest about his early days of criminal activity, voyeurism, drug abuse and anti-social behaviour, it’s equally candid when Ellroy documents how the failures of his personal relationships fuelled his fictional fantasies of brutal men going to war on behalf of vulnerable women. Then there’s the allegation that Ellroy has exploited his mother’s death: “I read from MY DARK PLACES,” he writes. “The six thousandth public performance of my dead-mother act … A man called me glib. I brusquely rebuked him. I said she was my mother - not his. I said I’d paid the price - and he hadn’t.” The prose is Ellroy’s usual cocktail of slang, mangled idiom and staccato rhythms, an electrifying blend that fuels the most compulsively self-flagellating memoir you’ll read this year. - Declan Burke

  For a longer take on THE HILLIKER CURSE, Peter Murphy’s review in last weekend’s Irish Times is well worth checking out …

2 comments:

Alan Griffiths said...

Thanks for the review, Dec and the link to Peter’s – both great insight into a remarkable character and genius wordsmith.

I went along last week to Ellroy’s reading in London and was pretty much blown away with the man; his sheer personality, undoubted talent as a writer/storyteller and his command of the English language - using his trademark: Humour, slang, patois and creative profanity. It was quite a night and well worth the entrance fee.

Kind regards.

TheQ47 said...

Did you hear Matt Cooper's (almost) interview with him last week? Worth searching out (I'm sure it's somewhere on the Today FM site). They didn't get on well at all...