my Book

Book Details

Title:   The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
Author:   James Ellroy
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   01.20.11

Other Books Read By This Author (6)
- American Tabloid
- Blood's A Rover
- The Enchanters
- Perfidia
- This Storm
- Widespread Panic

Notes History
Date Read Note
01.20.11 Again I was wary. Through most of his career, Ellroy talked about the murder of his mother in support of every book and movie, even if it's to say that he's not talking about her anymore. Then here again he seems to be all about his mother.

Thankfully, it's not really. It treads different ground than his first memoir and goes over his entire life in the shifted perspective of his love life. There were hints and references in previous interviews that he was a lady's man, had a wild phase when he first found fame, etc. I saw a documentary about him years ago that included some footage of him and his wife in their kitchen. Their relationship seemed strong. She easily came off as an intelligent lively woman who matched his wit and stood up to his schtick.

After the strength of Blood's a Rover, I immediately jumped into this because there were things I wanted to know more about his life. His nervous breakdown, his divorce, how these characters of Joan and Karen got themselves inserted into his latest novel. In that respect, this book really delivers.

Ellroy goes over his whole career, referencing his previous books in context of who he was seeing at the time. It made me go back to my library and check to see who he dedicated each of his books to. I kind of realized that I'm completely not surprised that behind these great books was great turmoil and pain and that he's a pretty messed up dude. It also makes me really skeptical about his future. The last chapter is supposed to be very hopeful and positive but it kind of just comes off as the next phase of his neurosis. I hope it works out for him, but you know, I also want more great books.

So there's a bit of that contrast going on here. Feeling bad for his wreckage of a personal life but also accepting that it's a necessary part of making his good books great and sort of being ok with his problems because of it. A lot of his prose is kind of obtuse but it flows in a style that grants the reader comprehension even if they do not entirely understand every sentence. Reading the book is a lot like hearing him being interviewed. He somehow manages to answer each question in a way where you think he might be completely dodging it or just using it as an excuse to talk about whatever he wants to talk about, but ultimately he gets his point across.

Very interesting, if not entirely pleasant and hopeful read. I can't wait for his next one!

my Book