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Book Details

Title:   American Tabloid
Author:   James Ellroy
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   01.10.24

Other Books Read By This Author (6)
- Blood's A Rover
- The Enchanters
- The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
- Perfidia
- This Storm
- Widespread Panic

Notes History
Date Read Note
01.10.24 Audible released this book as a podcast with a good cast reading dialogue almost like a radio play, supported by Ellroy's narration. I'm just finishing up his latest book and the thought of refreshing my memory on this book (which I remember absolutely loving) sounded like fun.

It's a bit of a shame because even though the podcast was almost 21 hours long, it seems like they editing the text a bit. A lot of comments mention them cutting all the un-pc language which I vaguely remember... but it also seemed like some things were edited for time? I may be completely wrong about that... it's been long enough that I only remembered the broad strokes of the story and characters so my memory is not a reliable guide, but I thought certain areas were fleshed out more.

In any case, this was still enough to scratch the itch of re-reading it and I felt it was also worthy of a note because it was basically like listening to an audio-book, except with a cast of actors instead of just one reader. Some of them read the text better than others. It seems like Steve Schirippa and Elliot Gould turned in take #1, but the main roles: ALessandro Nivola as Kemper Boyd, Shea Whigham as Ward Littell, and William Forsyth as Big Pete Bondurant were all quite good. Ed O'Neil was also a good J Edgar Hoover, and actually Simon Rex gave a good performance as Lenny Sands: jewish comedian who also winds up writing for Hush Hush magazine so he has to write all the alliteritive headlines and articles and stuff which are a mouthful. Maya Hawke as Barb is also good even though she really doesn't appear until near the end.

Story-wise I still liked it quite a bit. I think Ellroy's gotten a little more sever with his "direct" prose but I also remember this was his first book to try it on for size to great effect. LA Confidential and White Jazz were a different kind of style with colons and clipped sentences and a crazy economy that comes off more brusqe and hard, but I think this is the prose style he's stuck with since (except for the follow-up which I remember being TOO terse). Hearing Ellroy himself narrate that direct style is sometimes a little off-putting, especially when he's basically screaming. I think in your head you're able to absorb the words faster and read the sentences faster so it's a much different vibe than listening to Ellroy, but I have to say that by the end I dug it. It's seeped into what I hear in my head as I finish his latest, but that's a different note.

So yeah, I enjoyed this. I do sometimes think about revisiting some of his books but I think now it would be The Big Nowhere and other LA Quartet books since this has refreshed me on American Tabloid and Blood's a Rover is still somewhat in mind.

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