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eponymous
08-29-2001, 01:11 PM
Other than seeing the movie adaptation of his novel "L.A. Confidential", I hadn't read any of James Ellroy's novels. That changed a couple of weeks ago when I decided to read "American Tabloid". Having just finished it a couple of days ago, I must admit that I really enjoyed the book. I would definitely like to see a screen adaptation of the movie, but it would have to be done a certain way to maintain the pace and tone of the novel.

As an aside, I also have White Jazz (which I believe has also been turned into a movie), and am thinking about getting the "The Big Six-Thousand" (?) - although I have read that it has received unfavorable reviews.

Not being an English Lit. type myself, I was curious as to what other dopers thought of Ellroy's work.

Mockingbird
08-29-2001, 01:30 PM
His work is great. Very deep and textured writing. As a person, through his interviews, he comes off as a major nutjob.

His mother was murdered in a grisly fashion when he was a child, which is what drives most of his LA based work. I saw a special on him when I had to do a paper about his work for a film class, and it was mega creepy.

Interrobang!?
08-29-2001, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by eponymous
As an aside, I also have White Jazz (which I believe has also been turned into a movie)

I love Ellroy's stuff, especially post-The Black Dahlia. I highly recommend reading at least the rest of the L.A. Quartet before launching into White Jazz -- that's the last in the series, and although it stands alone, it also wraps up plot threads from the preceding novels.

The L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz. Black Dahlia is more standalone -- almost a prelude, in retrospect -- but it's one of his best novels.

Ellroy's definitely a nut in person, although a fair amount of his persona is showmanship. He gives great readings, though. If he comes to a bookstore near you, check him out.

eponymous
08-29-2001, 04:40 PM
Interrobang!?,

Thanks, will check others before starting into "White Jazz". I have heard that "Black Dahlia" is one of his best. I had it pegged to purchase sometime in the future, but I guess I'll get it and the others as well.


Addendum:

Anyone know if "The Big Six-Thousand" (?) picks up where "American Tabloid" leaves off? If so, can anyone offer any comments?

realitytrip
08-29-2001, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by eponymous


Anyone know if "The Big Six-Thousand" (?) picks up where "American Tabloid" leaves off? If so, can anyone offer any comments?


Yes, it does. Its been a while since I read "Six-Thousand", but it picks up where "Tabloid" left off. SPOILER FOR AMERICAN TABLOID



The two remaining main characters are joined by a new (more or less naive) character who quickly gets sucked into their twisted and corrupt world over, well, six thousand dollars. A six thousand dollar job involving killing someone in Dallas the day JFK is shot. That is just the beginning. I really liked "Six Thousand" although its very terse, much like White Jazz. Very dense stuff, with no wasted words. Covers the main political events of the late sixties, especially the assassinations of MLK and Robert Kennedy. And there will be at least another one, I think. Great stuff.

twiggy smithereens
08-30-2001, 05:44 PM
I haven't read any of James Ellroy's novels - just his memoir "My Dark Places" (there was an excerpt of it published in the "Crime" issue of Granta Magazine). If you want to know why he writes what he does, and where he got his material this is a fascinating, though disturbing, read. Also, this book is a very, very thorough exploration into his mothers murder. Not for everyone, though...

Torgo
08-30-2001, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by eponymous
Other than seeing the movie adaptation of his novel "L.A. Confidential", I hadn't read any of James Ellroy's novels.

While "Confidential" was a good film on its' own terms, it barely scratched the surface of the novel's dense, layered plot. Actually, Ellroy novels are more suited to TV miniseries (cable of course...can't give up the profanities and racial epithets!) than to feature films, a la "Lonesome Dove."

The_Peyote_Coyote
08-30-2001, 06:36 PM
"The Black Dahlia" is the only Ellroy book I have read, but I thought it was pretty damn good. Of course, I read it at at time when my life was almost as weird as Ellroy's novel.

Fyodor
08-30-2001, 08:03 PM
What I liked about "American Tabloid"...

Although it was fiction, it was a hair raising depiction of how a Mafia conspiracy to kill Kennedy could have happened. Hatred of Kennedy across the spectrum of powerful Americans, a strong hint from a Mafia godfather trickles down to a couple of desperate criminals, randomly but wisely selected nutter Oswald is found and nudged in the right direction, nobody ever talks. Pete tied to a chair, weeping as Mafia thugs literally nail another Mafiosi to the wall in front of him. Cuban soldiers taking chainsaws to bound prisoners on the Bay of Pigs beach...

Absolutely hair raising. Steven King's a pussy...