April 5, 2011
[books] James Ellroy Signs Off From Facebook‘Sayonara Motherfuckers!!!’

James Ellroy's Facebook Sign Off

September 13, 2010
[books] The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women by James Ellroy Reviewed‘This is not really a book about women, or any sort of physical or emotional connection at all, whether love or sex. It’s a book about obsession. Between the relentless crowing about how “brilliantly” he performs at this reading and what a “sales smasheroo” that book is, you sense a lonely and baffled man, repeatedly floored by anxiety, hypochondria and a still-raw response to a long-ago violent loss – none of which are likely to be solved simply by demanding that women line up to love him. Does Ellroy himself know this about himself? Can he see what we see?’
January 20, 2010
[books] James Ellroy and David Peace in conversation … On his life between 1968 and 1972: ‘I have a very dim social sense. I recall the time. I recall the specific events. But I didn’t give a rat’s fucking ass. I was self-absorbed. All I wanted to do was drink, use drugs, perv around after women, unsuccessfully. And read. I didn’t give a shit. I was never leftwing. I was never a war protestor. I would just steal and hole up in libraries and sleep in parks and act like an asshole, in a minor way. But I read and nurtured notions of being a great writer. And I sensed history bombing around beside me. I knew I was living through tumultuous history.’
January 18, 2010
[books] James Ellroy On Desert Island Discs … (available on BBC iPlayer for the next seven days).
November 25, 2009
[books] Is James Ellroy The Best Judge Of His Own Novels? … James Ellroy on The Cold Six Thousand‘Ellroy was already there, sitting on a dais, dressed casually – khaki jumper with suede elbow pads, chinos and surprisingly fashionable shoes – more geography teacher on a field trip than “the demon dog, the foul owl with the death growl”. But there was nothing ordinary about Ellroy’s voice. Deep, rhythmic and gruff, his voice imbued the opening passage from American Tabloid with such ferocity and menace it was pure visceral theatre.’
September 28, 2009
[books] Excerpts From An Interview With James Ellroy‘My dad had another stroke the first week I was at Polk. I got flown home to LA, in my uniform, on emergency leave. Two weeks later, he had yet another stroke. I got flown back again, just in time to see him die. His final words to me were, Try to pick up every waitress who serves you.’
January 5, 2007
[books] The Great Right Place: James Ellroy Comes Home — Ellroy on returning to LA… ‘My mother was murdered. The crime was purely L.A.-adjacent. It was a hot Saturday night. She was out with a man. He strangled her and dumped her on an access road. I was in the real-L.A./safe-L.A./now-non-safe-forever-L.A. that weekend. The central event of my life occurred off-page. The crime remains unsolved.’ [via BeaucoupKevin]
November 16, 2006
[books] The Mother Load — another interview with James Ellroy … ‘What I like about the era I am writing about, meaning 1958 to 1972, is that the anti-Communism mandate justified virtually any kind of clandestine activity. I like exploring the mind-set of extreme expediency.’ [via Kottke]
November 2, 2006
[books] My Mother and the DahliaJames Ellroy on the Black Dahlia and his Mother … ‘I wrote six good novels and crashed Betty and Jean with The Black Dahlia. It was a salutary ode to Elizabeth Short and a self-serving and perfunctory embrace of my mother. I acknowledged the Jean-Betty confluence in media appearances and exploited it to sell books. My performances were commanding at first glance and glib upon reappraisal. I cut my mother down to sound-bite size and packaged her wholesale. I determined the cause of my ruthlessness years later. She owned me…’
September 11, 2006
[books] Ellroy’s Dark Places — interview with James Ellroy‘Ellroy recently moved back to Los Angeles, where he is completing the final instalment of his “Underworld USA” trilogy, which began with American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand. Keenly anticipated, the novel deals with America between 1968 and 1972, but that’s just about all he’ll reveal. “It’s going very well,” he says. Any idea when it’s going to be finished? “Not the slightest.” What is it about? “America, 1968 to 1972.” Does it have a title? “Yes, but I’m not telling anyone.” ‘
January 15, 2006
[books] Burning Down the Sixties — oldish interview with James Ellroy. On Oliver Stone’s JFK: …

‘That movie is electrifying for the first 45 minutes because it hints at Cuba. It never hints at the mob, and it’s too bad, because it is the mob. You know, it’s the mob-renegades-CIA-crazy-Cuban-exiles nexus, and anything else is horse shit. I would believe the single-gunman theory before I would believe the military-industrial complex theory. It’s preposterous. “Gentlemen, I’ll give you your damn war.” Ha! War this! [points to his crotch]’

July 16, 2005
[books] The alternative Harry Potter (link contains Spoilers) — In the Style of James Ellroy: ‘Dig that Hogwarts vibe. Potter foresaw it was going down. The howler came that morning. It howled that his presence was required in the Room of Requirement. Potter knew things were gonna go baaaad. He knew this was a mess even the Sorting Hat couldn’t sort out.’
November 15, 2004
[books] Dark Star of LA Noir — long profile of James Ellroy‘For many, his ostensibly shocking claim that he had “figured out how I could use my mother’s death, reduce it to sound-bites and sell books”, might have seen him tagged simply as a grotesque opportunist. But then, in a bravely imaginative departure, he complicated matters further by addressing head-on the nature of that exploitation in his ground-breaking 1996 book My Dark Places, which was part memoir and part, ultimately doomed, attempt to identify her killer, who has never been identified. The more one finds out about the man, the more his title of the essay in which he claims novels are mislabelled autobiography makes sense: he called it “Where I Get My Weird Shit”.’
April 11, 2002
[wtf?] ‘X-Files’ star takes ‘Confidential’ Role — David Duchovny as James Ellroy? … ‘Ellroy, a burly, eccentric man was 46 at the time he began investigating his mother’s murder, and on the surface, Duchovny makes for an odd match. “It’s odd to see someone who doesn’t resemble me physically in the least playing me,” Ellroy acknowledged to Variety.’ [Related: Brief extract from My Dark Places, Buy My Dark Places at Amazon, link via WEF]
March 12, 2002
[books] Excellent oldish interview with James Ellroy from 1995 … Ellroy on Oliver Stone’s JFK: ‘I was just enthralled for an hour and twenty minutes. Bravuro moviemaking, wonderfully layered and dense and jazzy, and then Donald Sutherland arrives to posit this preposterous theory, and it goes downhill from there. I think organized crime, exile factions, and renegade CIA killed Jack the Haircut. I think your most objective researchers do as well. When Oliver Stone diverged from that to take in the rest of the world (Lyndon Johnson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff), I lost interest. I went out and bought a copy of the video and I watch it right up until Donald Sutherland appears, then I turn it off.’ [via Book Notes]
February 13, 2002
[books] The Hard-Boiled Bookshelf – James Ellroy‘His personal story has been relentlessly self exposed. He does 200 interviews a year and has written a quasi-autobiography in which he tells of his journey to “rediscover” his dead mother and to find out who killed her. He has examined, more completely and graphically than anyone (except perhaps himself) ever needed to learn about, his life as a druggie, shoplifter, petty criminal, peeper, B&E man, panty sniffer, white supremacist, and marathon masterbator.’
February 11, 2002
[reading] American Tabloid by James Ellroy … From the introduction: ‘The real trinity of Camelot was Look Good, Kick Ass, Get Laid. Jack Kennedy was the mythological front man for a particularly juicy slice of our history. He talked a slick line and wore a world class haircut. He was Bill Clinton minus pervasive media scrutiny and a few rolls of flab. Jack got whacked at the optimum moment to assure his sainthood. Lies continue to swirl around his eternal flame. Its time to dislodge his urn and cast light on a few men who attended his ascent and facilitated his fall. They were rogue cops and shakedown artists. They were wiretappers and soldiers of fortune and faggot lounge entertainers. Had one second of their lives deviated off course, American history would not exist as we know it.’
December 30, 2001
[books] Ellroy’s Kafka Routine — interview with James Ellroy … ‘The essential contention of the Underworld USA trilogy volume one, American Tabloid, volume two, The Cold Six Thousand, is that America was never innocent. Here’s the lineage: America was founded on a bedrock of racism, slaughter of the indigenous people, slavery, religious lunacy …and nations are never innocent. Let alone nations as powerful as our beloved fatherland.’
July 30, 2001
[must read] Salon reviews James Ellroy’s The Cold Six Thousand‘Ellroy once called himself “the greatest crime novelist who ever lived,” and then wrote books like “The Black Dahlia,” “The Big Nowhere” and “L.A. Confidential” to prove it. Now he wants to sit with the grown-ups, and if they don’t make room at the table he’s going to tip it over. One way or another, he means to make it, and on his own terms. “Fuck being a crime novelist when you can be a flat-out great novelist,” he once told me — there never being a doubt in his mind that being either one was merely a matter of choice, of will. Ellroy took risks.’ [Related: Cold Six Thousand at Amazon]
November 5, 2000
My Dark Places Cover[reading] My Dark Places by James Ellroy. ‘It went bad from there. It went bad with self-destructive logic. It went bad slowly. The voices came and went. Inhalers let them in. Liquor and enforced sobriety stifled them. I understood the problem intellectually. Rational thought deserted me the second I popped those cotton wads in my mouth. Lloyds called the voices “amphetamine psychoses.” I called them a conspiracy. President Richard M. Nixon knew I murdered my parents and ordered people to stalk me. They hissed into microphones wired to my brain. I heard the voices. Nobody else did.’ [My Dark Places is by turns, a stunning, brilliant and above all a disturbing book. I read it first in 1998 and since then I’ve read it at least once a year… Certainly in the top five books I’ve ever read.]
September 14, 2000
[ellroy] Old Salon interview with James Ellroy… On his mother: ‘She gave me gifts — her death did. Those gifts have stood me in very good stead. I cannot go back and undo the past. I never even think of what might have happened had she lived. Would I be a writer? I had gone to great lengths in my life, in my career, to seek consciousness and get better and better. That eclipsed everything with me, everything in my subconscious.’
July 4, 2000
[books] Have I ever said how much I like James Ellroy books?