|John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-08-01 |
Wow, THIS submission sure came back from the dead!
I've barely cracked a book since I first got on the internet, and James Ellroy may be the only living author I have any real familiarity with. He has his WTF moments. In THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, he has J. Edgar Hoover use the expression "warp speed", like some kind of Trekkie, and that may have been in 1963, before Star Trek even existed. I can't believe that an editor didn't catch that. But usually, you get a vivid sense of the past with all the sanitized parts restored.
His persona contains a certain amount of bullshit. It's quite possible that he never actually cursed out any old ladies who asked him about Kim Basinger, but telling the story to the camera has its own entertainment, edification, and self promotion value. Telling the story to the camera makes actually DOING IT unnecessary
The place to start with Ellroy is his memoir, MY DARK PLACES, where he tells about his mother's murder when he was ten, when his parents were divorcing and he was just a boy who had no feelings for his mother. She was the parent who disciplined him, and he was glad that she died. I remember that when I was around the same age, my mother was injured badly in a car accident, and what I remember most is being happy that I didn't have to take dance lessons any more. If my mother had died when I was so heartless and disengaged, I think I would have stayed disengaged.
The loss left Ellroy spinning out of control and teeming with unresolved obsessions and serious addictions. He nearly ended up a wet brain alcoholic. He saved his own life by going straight for the darkness by writing about crime. In the memoir, he spares himself nothing. It concludes with Ellroy's own investigation of his mother's murder, which yields no real answers about the murder, but he learns amazing things about his mother.
Years ago, there was an abridged audiobook of Ellroy reading "My Dark Places" I may still have a digital copy somewhere on an old CD Nobody reads Ellroy like Ellroy. Worth a listen if you can find it.