another I should have added. Read it in 1981, notebook says: Clym, the tired, the modern man; tired of existence. 'The typical countenance of the futu...moreanother I should have added. Read it in 1981, notebook says: Clym, the tired, the modern man; tired of existence. 'The typical countenance of the future.. the view of life as something to be put up with, replacing the zest for existence which was so intense in early civilisations.. a long line of disillusive centuries has permanenetly displaced the Hellenic idea of life.' (less)
in my mind I've always loved this book, and I'm going through my 1985 notebook, and see this 'title story superb' and 'what i'd like to write like' (t...morein my mind I've always loved this book, and I'm going through my 1985 notebook, and see this 'title story superb' and 'what i'd like to write like' (terrible phrase), but then later there's this: 'But the last two stories have made me change my mind about him. Dubious about Dubus. They're dull, on the whole, and self indulgent. I make up my mind never to write about writers. Despite the sharp insights and neat details these stories are tedious.'. So. I don't actually remember the 'bad' stories, but I'd better give it three as that's how I felt at the time. I might re-read. (less)
My neighbour lent me this after I said I liked his music - but truthfully I used to dislike his stuff when I was growing up (always thought of it as m...moreMy neighbour lent me this after I said I liked his music - but truthfully I used to dislike his stuff when I was growing up (always thought of it as my parent's music - Ring of Fire, Boy named Sue etc) - his later stuff 1994 onwards is truly magnificent and irresistable. For most of its length this book is pretty compelling, despite the cliche a page quota, because his life is amazing and packed with incident, but the last few chapters about God and such (may be fascinating to some I'm sure) were boring and there are chapters of acknowledgements to people he'd worked with, all well and good but they didn't do much for me. Mind you I did read it in a couple of days over Christmas full of beer and chocolate which may have blurred the experience.(less)
I vowed to lay off Beatles books but this was in the library and couldn't resist. It was so much like the later 'Revolution in the Head' - going throu...moreI vowed to lay off Beatles books but this was in the library and couldn't resist. It was so much like the later 'Revolution in the Head' - going through song by song, that I didn't read from cover to cover, just picked favourite songs (eg Rain, And Your Bird Can Sing: the guitar solo is flourescent irony.. it glitters with supremacy.) and also read all the stuff on their solo careers (up to late 80s - George still alive). Again too dismissive of George I thought, saying of his wonderful 'All Too Much' points up everything that can go wrong.. subtleties are scattered.. a lack of immediacy, and not mentioning 'I Live for You', my favourite from 'All Things Must Pass'. Really rates Ringo though - as other reviews point out - quite properly.
Worth reading for the bibliography alone, with some great biased comments. He says of DiLello's 'The longest Cocktail Party': Tattle-tales from an office boy whose job included rolling joints and sending out for barrels of apples for press conferences. Paperback writer becomes flesh. I love the chapter in Derek Taylor's 'As Time Goes By' about Paul's trip up north to work with a brass band and how, on acid, they stop in a village on the way back and Paul sings his new song 'Hey Jude' in the local pub, but Riley says the book has a fondness that verges on patronisation. He's probably right.
The edition I read wasn't the one portrayed above, but from 1988, the one above might have been updated. (less)
a diverse collection of essays examining the impact of the Beatles and 'youth culture' in the 60s on society then and now (eg did they start off celeb...morea diverse collection of essays examining the impact of the Beatles and 'youth culture' in the 60s on society then and now (eg did they start off celebrity culture?). Attempts to add context to Beatlemania and (most of) their songs. Pretty good/interesting for Beatles fans although some might cringe at the academic speak - the 'Postmodern White Album' anyone? The book opens with what the Queen said on her fiftieth wedding anniversay: 'What a remarkable 50 years they have been... think what we would have missed if we had never heard the Beatles.'(less)
Although many of the books I read have crime in them I don't really read ‘crime’ novels, or 'true crime' books (or memoirs come to that) so I would pr...moreAlthough many of the books I read have crime in them I don't really read ‘crime’ novels, or 'true crime' books (or memoirs come to that) so I would probably have missed this altogether except for the GR reviews from friends and others. Really so much has been written on GR about this book I find it hard to add to. I agree with many assessments, like Abailart's:
Ellroy gets misogyny. He gets bigotry and racism. Ellroy gets brutality and violence. He gets crime. He gets sexuality, he gets desire, he gets pain. He gets honesty. He gets dissimulation and avoidance.
I too was mesmerised by his confessional style and rat a tat prose, from the start I was coshed and dragged down an alley and then beaten – or maybe stabbed - relentlessly by those short grim sentences. Mostly that was good, or bracing or something. There were fantastic sections, e.g on his growing up on drugs and drink and stalking women and breaking and entering.
It all has been covered elsewhere, so I’ll concentrate here on a couple of things that struck me. One was about his disturbing erotic obsession with his mother and her pitiful death. Is some of it due to the fixation some of us have based around the time our first sexual perceptions are formed, as we change from child to adult – 10,11,12? Using myself as research it may be why I find the mid-to late sixties dress, and manners, the beginning touches of the psychedelic, that strange 'milking a cow' gestures of ‘go go’ dancing in films like ‘Harper’ so appealing while most people think they're naff. I seek out films where there might be a glimpse of beehive hairdo and above the knee black and white dresses, and some of that crap energetic, naive dancing. I adore the look and sound of Evie Sands and Sandie Shaw. All stemming from that time in my youth. For Ellroy that time started around the time of his mother's murder, and he's never truly recovered. His hard nose stance, the brutality of his attitude to women and classmates at the Jewish school he attends, his dabbling in drugs and drink can’t hide a deep pain, and the last section where he finally looks at his mother's history, her life rather than her death was probably the most moving and necessary after a book filled with such focus on death and deviance. Mind you Ellroy would probably laugh his socks off at that - there's a very derogatory remark about 'closure' (sorry I haven't got the book with me to give a direct quote).
I did find the recapitulations of the events leading up to his mother's death, although underlining the obsessive nature of his quest, and evoking the painstaking nature of police procedures, sometimes numbing, like those reality TV programmes that summarise everything that went before every ten minutes, in case you’re too stupid to remember.
The litany of murders, one after the other, I found deeply disturbing, depressing, (although other GRers haven’t), particularly the one that also comes up later in the book, the Robbie and Daddy Beckett case where a lad takes his teenage girlfriend home to his dad to rape and murder (maybe because I have teenage daughters).
So I was bludgeoned, scared, depressed, on some mad repetitive high followed by the grungiest down ever, but impressed, shaken up. Not sure I will read another Ellroy yet, despite universal GR adoration. Don't know if I could take it. I must be a wuss.
probably 4 and a half stars. I resisted for a while, found the writing at points a little too overblown for me, and I couldn't say whether the Souther...moreprobably 4 and a half stars. I resisted for a while, found the writing at points a little too overblown for me, and I couldn't say whether the Southern dialect was accurate or not, but certainly was repetitive. I was shot with tacks heah. However like the hurricane at the end I was swept along, there were beautiful turns of phrase and accuracies of description. And 1937! Apart from the wife beatings and suchlike it seems incredibly modern (oh OK 1960s/70s - that's modern to me) in its sentiments. (less)