brian 's Reviews > The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy
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Sep 06, 2010

liked it

1. once again i'll post the greatest picture in the history of all pictures.
myself. ellroy. manny.

2. the general busyness of my life these days doesn't allow much time to write book reports -- a shame because it's a terrific way to blow off steam. instead i drink. at kowalski's recommendation, i moved from bourbon on the rocks to gin & club soda. and it was a good move, a more appropriate summer drink. but i'm still wrecking my liver, prematurely aging, and require a quick mid-day nap to fight off the hangover i powered through at 6 am so as to give the dog a good hike. so forgive a lack of rigor or relevance. i'm out of practice, hungover, busy, and, of course, i begin with a picture, an apology, and a digression -- not too good, eh?

3. after having worked in a bookstore for 6 years i'm sick to death of author readings. the affected inflection of most public readers is the equivalent of a testicular hangnail. and i have trouble following stories read aloud. i prefer the solitariness and subjectivity of the reading experience. but my friend tyson puts together this thing over at largo for select authors to cut through the bullshit and talk about stuff they really wanna talk about. and i wouldn't miss ellroy for the world. nobody gives public speak like ellroy.

i crashed the green room and caught ellroy outside the john trying to work up a precautionary pee before his reading. an excerpt from our conversation:

me: aren't you ever worried about litigation with writing such crazy shit about real life figures?
ellroy: who're you talking about?
me: um... the kennedys?
ellroy: ha. if the kennedys sued everyone who slandered or libeled them they'd be in court 24 hrs a day. and then they couldn't be out on the street raping and killing women.


for some reason tyson had this woman called laura kightlinger do a comedy set before ellroy went on -- she was mid-act talking about spitting on this guy's dick while giving him a handjob and ellroy rushes the stage: "get off! i don't want to hear this crap before i read!"
ellroy screams into the wings: "tyson, get her out of here! what is this shit?"
kightlinger was booted off stage.
it was incredibly tense and awkward and NOT planned and just totally terrific.

the reading opened with a woman standing beside a bust of beethoven speaking these words:

"Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps. Here is James Ellroy, the demon dog, the foul owl with the death growl, the white knight of the far right, and the slick trick with the donkey dick. He's the author of 18 books, masterpieces all; they precede all his future masterpieces. These books will leave you reamed, steamed and drycleaned, tie-dyed, swept to the side, true-blued, tattooed and bah fongooed. These are books for the whole fuckin' family, if the name of your family is the Manson Family."

4. but the hilliker curse: dare i say i find it unnecessary? many many times has ellroy declared much of my dark places disingenuous. many many times have i thought: "i don't care." ellroy's additions addenda palimpsests corrections etc may be more honest and in line with what he is feeling now (or even, perhaps, how he was feeling then), but that's irrelevant to the book reading experience, irrelevant to the book as a freestanding work of art. now for those who found james frey to be worse than criminal, for those who feel that memoir is more a collection of fact than a work of art, you might welcome a my dark places redux. i say 'fuck all that' -- to flip into donald powellian hyperbole, my dark places is an anguished howl into the abyss, a swirling maelstrom of dementia plunging the darkest depths of a plagued soul. ahem. anyway. it really is all that. and it's glorious. and 'fact' or 'fiction' doesn't change a damn thing.

the more reasonable ellroy still writes as if a demondog was gnawing its way up into his asshole -- but he writes more with the clarity and conviction of the recently dried-out alcoholic than with the bravado of a drunk-on-rotgut carny barker.
and i like my ellroy how i like my coffee.

5. the bullet points are for jon bruenning.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2010 – Started Reading
September 6, 2010 – Shelved
Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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brian   1. david.
there's a reason i keep you around as my #1 bitch.
brilliance. sheer brilliance.
(will change addendums. thank you.)

2. bruenning.
you so cute.
i'm in santa barbara on the 20th.
watch out.

message 2: by Krok Zero (new)

Krok Zero That's crazy about Kightlinger. I'd like to see Ellroy go up against every washed-up '90s comedienne. Rita Rudner, you're next! No one who lay on Dr. Katz's couch is safe from the demon dog.

message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary Terrific picture. I am so jealous, Brian, you met him! I am seeing Franzen on the 20th,and they say no cameras. I am bummed, but to know you saw Ellroy in person, fuck, now i am really BUMMED!!

message 4: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell GREAT picture.

message 5: by Kealan (new) - added it

Kealan O'ver I am so jealous of this picture and that excerpt of dialogue that I could spit on a guys dick.

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