James Ellroy

James Ellroy

His 2001 novel The Cold Six Thousand
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His mother was an industrial nurse with a drinking problem and his father, when he did work, was an accountant, among other things. When his parents divorced in 1954, his mother, Geneva Hilliker Ellroy, received custody on him and they moved to El Monte (a low income area in L.A). His mother was murdered there in 1958 and her killer was never apprehended. James Ellroy published in 1996 My Dark Places, an autobiographical account of his mother’s unsolved murder and his 1994 reinvestigation of the case. As a young man haunted by his mother's ghost, Ellroy became a thief, an alcoholic, a drug abuser and a sexual pervert who became notorious as a peeping Tom fixated on women's underwear. He broke into people's houses, he stole stuff, things like food and lingerie. He served time in jail. He declared himself to be a Nazi to get a rise out of people. He consumed crime novels and found himself structuring his fantasies in narrative form, and when at the age of ten, his father bought him Jack Webb's The Badge: a history of the LAPD, he became obsessed with the book and studied it repeatedly. He developed an obsessive fascination with homicide, and in this book he discovered the story of the ghastly murder/mutilation of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, whose murder and the cops and other crime figures he would later write about in the L.A. Quartet.Obsession, says Ellroy now with hindsight, is good, if you survive the experience. "If you've got an obsession, and if you've got a certain gift, then you'll be good." He says things like, "I consider the history of 20th-century America to be the history of the crimes of bad white men, and I want to celebrate those men." Much of the first 30 years of Ellroy’s life was devoted to homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse, petty crime and a protracted flirtation with insanity. The beginning of his recovery was the beginning of the trip that brought him to Kansas City. He found steady work caddying at Los Angeles country clubs and moved into a cheap hotel. He joined AA and sobered up in August 1977. As he walked the golf course six days a week, he harnessed his narrative passion to his fascination with crime and began to daydream a novel. In early 1979 he began to write it. At the age of thirty, he wrote and sold his first novel, Brown’s Requiem, which appeared as a paperback original in 1981 and that re-created Ellroy's life.In 1985 he began to write The Black Dahlia, an explicit attempt to marry his mother’s murder to the famous case that so obsessed him in his youth. The novel appeared in 1987 and was a big success. He dedicated the book to his mother.Another of his novels, American Tabloid, was named 1995’s novel of the year by TIME magazine. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, novelist William Vollman called American Tabloid "A supremely controlled work of art." The Los Angeles Times said of him, "He’s not merely a great hard-boiled crime fiction writer. Let’s take the leap; James Ellroy is developing into one of the great American writers of our time."He’s regarded over most of Europe of a sort of noir cultural demigod. James Ellroy is more closely identified with Los Angeles than any writer since Raymond Chandler. Nearly all of his writing prior to American Tabloid is set in Los Angeles, mostly in the rough, racist, pre-Miranda Los Angeles of the decade following the Second World War. His four novels immediately preceding American Tabloid – The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, LA Confidential and White Jazz – are collectively known as the LA Quartet. They comprise a dark and obsessive 1950s anti-history of his hometown.He moved to Kansas City in the summer of 1995 and he lives there since then. Source: booksfactory.com
She quoted a dead playwright and called me a bullet with nothing but a future. She understood my lack of self-pity. She knew why I despised everything that might restrict my forward momentum. She knew that bullets have no conscience. They speed past things and miss their marks as often as they hit them.More James Ellroy quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Some people don’t respond to civility.More James Ellroy quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I am a writer. I could not afford to take 15 months off from my writing career to play detective.More James Ellroy quotes [09/11/2011 04:09:55]
Every one of my books is written from the viewpoint of cops, with the exception of my book Killer on the Road, which is written from the viewpoint of a serial killer.More James Ellroy quotes [09/11/2011 04:09:49]
Raymond Chandler once wrote that Dashiell Hammett gave murder back to the people who really committed it.More James Ellroy quotes [09/11/2011 04:09:46]

Quotes of the month

Anatoly Yurkin I am the buyer of alienation. (Anatoly Yurkin) [01/17/2021 01:01:17] More

Vlada Bulatovich-vib When the boot starts to think, the brain can only march. [12/26/2020 03:12:17] More

Evgenijj Tarasov The branches of government should not be held solely by gun barrels. [12/29/2020 11:12:51] More

Anatoliy Trushkin Star fever is when everything that comes out of you looks like stars. [12/27/2020 09:12:11] More

Vladimir Korenev The best profession is life! [01/02/2021 04:01:33] More