The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy
The book is brief, but it covers a world of pain. In dense, explicit and yet jazzily lyrical prose, Mr. Ellroy recounts his masochistic voyeurism; his periods of breaking into women’s homes to fondle and smell and steal their possessions; his drug and alcohol addiction; his tormented dalliances with prostitutes, fans and fantasy girls; a loving but often sexless marriage; and a shattering nervous breakdown at the height of his career. | Andrew Klavan @ The Wall Street Journal
This novel, The Hilliker curse, has a lot to do with his association and his obsession with women. One clear assumption from reading his words is he loves to brood and a bit too much. He’s a one of a kind character, recently I watched an interview of his on video here and here it was outrageous. This gave me the need to start reading from this gifted writer, the Black Dahlia is the only novel I have read of his to date and have many of his novels on the shelf who’s spines need breaking.
Since his mother’s murder in his youth he has been trying to understand women and sometimes in the most unconventional ways.
I wonder if when he was nine years old the incident with the 17 or 18 German immigrant babysitter had a more dark effect on his character.
His marriage to Helen tamed his one nighters and obsession with women. He writes at length of his happiness with her and i did hope for it to last, as it seemed to really contribute to his successful flood of novels. Due to what he calls the Hilliker Curse ot didn’t and he meet Joan and divorced. He had two divorces and finally settled with Erika who was married. It seems she’s the one, a he closes the book attesting to this. Thank god, he’s had a ruff ride and needs to quite brooding. Ellroy seems a man of unique character and presence and a gifted genius in writing. I have not read enough of his novels to be quoted on stating of his genius but sense it.
He writes with humour and gives you a snippet into an Ellrovian life.
Ellroy is a master also of profanity and broodiness. This video gives you a taster of the one and only Ellroy.
All hail James Ellroy a Legend.
He talks of his Beethovian mood swings and general love of Beethoven
When he talks of his teenager years he mentions this.
“I taped pictures of Beethoven over my bed and pondered our genius. He composed his greatest music for his ‘Immortal Beloved.’Her identity remained as mysterious as The Other for me. Beethoven understood my deep loneliness and sorrow. His deafness inspired visionary thoughts unknown to mortal men. My deafness was voluntary. Beethoven dug that. I often played the adagio of the Hammerklavier Sonata before I went peeping. Beethoven approved more than condemned the practise.”
“My dad died in ’65. I got kicked out of high school and psych- discharged from three months in the army. I held down minimum- wage jobs and flopped in dive hotels and parks. I smoke weed and scored uppers from dubious physicians. I shoplifted and full time fantasied. I kept a bust of Beethoven stashed in a bush at Burns Park. I did lightweight jolts in the L.A County jail system. I was too thin and was developing a chronic cough.
Booze and dope regulated my fantasy life. The theme had only intensified. I remained consumed by women. It was pushing me toward insanity and death.”
“I masturbated myself bloody. I brain-screened faces for stern beauty and probity. The dope drizzled put of my system. I drank myself comatose and woke up in random shrubbery and jails. I never questioned the validity of my mission. I never questioned my sanity or the religious mess of my quest. I did not subscribe to the notion of the American 1960s as the sine qua non of all behaviours in extremis. I was tracing the arc of the Hilliker Curse. I wanted One Woman or All Women to be her. The horribly looming price of insanity or death in no way deterred me.”
He talks about his first book.
“My new hero was a womanising cop. He had predatory instincts and my seeker’s rationale.”
” The sex- fiend cop became a hardback trilogy. The feminist poet was supplanted by a brainy call girl and the cop’s resurrected ex- wife. The woman-with-a-cello book stayed in print. Ditto the my-mom-got-whacked-and-I’m-in-flight epic.”
“I wanted an unnamed woman. It was the inextinguishable flame or my life. I wanted to write a specific woman’s story. I knew her name: Elizabeth Short.
The Black Dahlia.”
“American Tabloid was the private nightmare of public policy. The infrastructure was power grab in place of love as redemption. Women veered through the book in subordinate roles. This was emblematic of the early ’60s. I wanted to write an all- new kind of novel and incinerate my ties in L.A. The former was laudable, the latter was not. L.A. made me. Jean Hilliker was killed there. I met Helen Knode a block from where I was born. The book was almost finished. Helen kept saying, you’re working too hard.”
Other than the video in the links above there are these also
JAMES ELLROY INTERVIEW WITH MIRANDA SAWYER (BBC 2 THE CULTURE SHOW 2009)
James Ellroy speaks