The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women by James Ellroy. (Knopf, 224 pages)
I like James Ellroy. My favorite book of his — and I think his greatest — is American Tabloid,which is a take like no other on American history from 1958 to the end of 1963. Unlike the JFK conspiracy tracts and movies which beg you to accept their veracity but can’t escape their puerile phantasm, American Tabloid — while not pretending to be anything other than complete fiction — can leave a reader wondering how in hell it could not be the truth. It’s so real, so perfect, so true to human nature. It is dirtier than any conspiracy theory, and messier and far more believable than any politicized take could be. As a literary achievement, it’s hard to argue that it is not Ellroy’s finest hour; all the darkness, madness and obsession is kept just enough in rein with a narrative that burns high-octane all the way yet somehow keeps driving within the lines of a crazy whiplash highway.
This new book is a memoir, with the pointed subtitle: “My Pursuit of Women.” The “Hilliker” of the curse named in the main title is Jean Hilliker, which is the maiden name of Ellroy’s mother. She was murdered in 1958, when James Ellroy was ten years old. Months previously Continue reading The Hilliker Curse, by James Ellroy