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Old 08-20-2018, 09:41 PM
Status: "Trump - excepting Jorgensen, the least of multiple evils" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Nescopeck, Penna. (birthplace)
13,774 posts, read 8,471,438 times
Reputation: 17854

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Just wondering who else here is familiar with this mystery writer, who sets most of his work around Hollywood (and the LAPD) in the period 1940-1970. I first picked up a copy of L A Confidential back in the early Nineties (the HBO film wouldn't be brought out until 1997) and was immediately intrigued by references to incidents like the killing of small-time gangster Johnny Stompanato in Lana Turner's apartment, and by Turner's teenaged daughter, in 1958 -- these were incidents I can recall, but was too young to fully comprehend at the time.

My biggest criticism of Ellroy (and this applies to a lot of mystery writers) is that he sometimes fails to research some of the historical and technical aspects of his work -- references, for example, to Interstate highways in the Fifties when, except for a handful of toll roads, construction seldom began before the mid-Sixties, And I'm curious as to whether the tensions in the last days before Pearl Harbor (depicted in Perfidia, first work of the still-in-progress second L A Quartet), were as visceral as they're depicted.

But all in all, a lot of great reading.

Last edited by 2nd trick op; 08-20-2018 at 10:13 PM..
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Old 08-21-2018, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,091 posts, read 7,508,597 times
Reputation: 30347
Saw the movie before reading the book....Story line and movie were excellent.
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Old 08-21-2018, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,563 posts, read 22,358,418 times
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I have tried reading Ellroy. Can't do it. His prose hurts the mind.
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Old 08-23-2018, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
24,473 posts, read 16,482,079 times
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I liked his early works the best. The first 3 are my faves. They are a loose trilogy, with the same cast of characters, and really capture what life was like in L.A. in the 10 years or so they cover.

Ellroy likes to experiment with writing; sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't.

I also liked his semi-autobiography quite a lot. Ellroy had a very strange and disturbing childhood in L.A.; his parents divorced, and he went with his mother, who was murdered. He then went to live with his father, who was an elderly and shiftless salesman who lived in skid-row hotels.
His father died while Ellroy was still a young teen, and Ellroy, an orphan, lived on the streets for the next 20 years. He was homeless while writing his first novel.

"My Mother's Murder" is an account of his childhood, later life, and his efforts to find his mother's killer after he became a wealthy, successful author. It's an astonishing story, and is written without his usual tricks and twists.
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Maine
18,563 posts, read 22,358,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjomike View Post
Ellroy likes to experiment with writing; sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't.
I can't stand in his writing.

The primary job of the writer is to disappear. Don't draw attention to yourself. Don't show how smart and brilliant you are. Just tell the story. Any style you choose must be in service to the story, not showing off how smart you think you are.

Ellroy's prose feels forced and affected. I can tell he's trying to be stylistic. It is drawing attention to the prose and away from the story. He actually reminds me in some ways of Kerouac. "That's not writing. That's typing."

Elmore Leonard, on the other hand, has a very unique style, but it is never glaring. Totally natural. He writes sentences that would make my high school English teacher pull her hair out, but they feel totally natural and they serve the story, not Elmore Leonard.
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