|| Blood's A Rover
Other Books Read By This Author (4)
- The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
- This Storm
- Widespread Panic
|01.12.11|| I hate to say it but My once-urgent love for James Ellroy and his writing has cooled since my reading The Cold Six Thousand. Not that I thought it was a bad book, but my lasting memory is that it was pretty hard to read and very long and for once kind of a chore to get through. Then came Destination: Morgue with somewhat repetitive nonfiction and probably his weakest fiction to date. Then I saw noir author/expert Eddie Muller at an Alamo screening and he mentioned doing a few screening gigs with him and kind of hinted at writer's block. Then I hear he's divorced. Then when this book came out in hardcover all the reviews had to talk about was his mental breakdown, obsession over a few women and how basically the book - high in expectations to begin with because it's the conclusion of his "Underworld, USA" trilogy which started off with American Tabloid, perhaps the single most quickly-read book of my reading career - has turned into some sort of tribute to these women and they both literally dominate the book since they are characters in it.
I was not excited.
But, much like Neal Stephenson's Anathem, when I actually finally picked this up and started reading, I was quickly reminded of why I loved Ellroy so much to begin with. This book is superb. The prose is expertly tuned and pared down in typical Ellroy style but not jack-hammering or extreme like Cold Six Thousand and Destination: Morgue. The historical context is charming and seedy and everything that makes this trilogy great. The characters are complicated and rich and maybe the most three dimensional that Ellroy's penned to date (having the book be "nakedly autobiographical" probably helps, with the character of Donald Crutchfield being a crew-cutted young peeper caught in the middle of all this crazy history). The women... yes they do end up dominating the book but not in any kind of vindictive or meta way that breaks from the story and the trilogy as a whole. I really should've trusted Ellroy more and been more excited to read this sooner because it's really great and made me love Ellroy again and now I moved straight to his next which I'll write about when I finish it.|