Posted 20 hours ago

Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy

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Still, in Ellroy's world innocence never lasts long, and soon enough he's the school Nazi, a development to which his dad does respond pretty well, by beginning to wear a yarmulke around the house. The book is full of numerous examples, of Ellroy's power and poise in writing, and some clunkers that make one go ehh. In any event, Powell had no such reticence, and his dedication has produced LOVE ME FIERCE IN DANGER.

Steven Powell's brilliant, unflinching biography reveals how the novelist's obsessions have their roots in the extraordinary experiences of his childhood and early years … Powell scrupulously chronicles Ellroy's hectic career: his compulsive womanising; lapses in sobriety; near nervous breakdowns; and attention grabbing performances as the self-styled 'Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction'… According to his ex-wife, Helen Knode: 'James lives life like he was shot out of a cannon.

Reverential to the figure Powell clearly adores (this is, after all, the fourth book he’s written on Ellroy) this latest release holds nothing of Ellroy’s notoriously difficult life back.

Pair that with the shifts in attitudes toward crime, perpetrators, and victims in that same time frame, and the result does intrigue me. Then again, it's perhaps truest to Ellroy's oft-cited statement that "closure is bullshit" for the book to end that way.This first ever full-length biography of James Ellroy is easily far more than just a simple rehashing of the Demon Dog’s well-documented life.

But contentment may explain why, as Powell tactfully puts it, his most recent novels are “beginning to lose a sense of emotional power”. Obviously anyone with any awareness of Ellroy knows about his murdered mother, the similarities with the Black Dahlia case which set his trajectory from an early age, but his dad was just as much a character from the son's books, a foul-mouthed chancer so given to bullshitting that of course Ellroy came to disbelieve his stories of having been a war hero, and Rita Hayworth's business manager, even though both of those turn out to have been true.

For any child this would be a cataclysm but for Ellroy it only widened the existing schism in his life and personality. Steven Powell obviously has a great understanding of this author and insight into his public and private life. Elroy and spit it out on the page and left nothing out I am not big on biographies But I do love some autobiographies and this is definitely one of them.

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