Sunday, January 10, 2010

On the list

I've got "Blood's a Rover" on the stack -- the third in the Ellroy trilogy that began with American Tabloid -- and I'm also reading the Red Riding Quartet by David Peace, who is definitely School-of-Ellroy.

I was accordingly interested in the interview of Ellroy by Peace in the Guardian the other day on the occasion of the publication of Rover in the UK. Peace behaves himself and exhibits almost no personality -- Ellroy, of course, does not.

For some reason, I loved this quote from Ellroy:

JE I like to lie in the dark, Mr Peace. I just lie in the dark and I . . . think. And history has been kind to me. I am a good thinker. I am a single-minded man. I spend so much time . . . do you have a family?

DP Yes, I do.

JE I don't have a family. I've never had a family. It's the strangest thing. I am 61 years old. I'm very healthy. I am more obsessed with women than I've ever been. And I've finally met the woman. I've finally met her. But I'm the guy with no place to go on Christmas and Easter that ends up getting, you know, some pitiful invitation, shit like this. So I spend a lot of time alone, thinking. And I avoid the culture. I don't go to movies. I don't read newspapers. Here's what I mean: I'm not a rich man. I pay alimony. I pay taxes. But I don't have to support a family. So I have this assistant. So I don't have to go to the fucking store. I don't have a computer. She does my email.


I wanted to write a book about ideology, about bad men cracking up ... and I saw that this kid Crutchfield ... this dipshit kid is the voice of American history. He is malleable. He is politically naive. He's never been laid. He spends four years tracking one woman to have 20 minutes with her and then spends the rest of his life looking for her. It's fucking heartbreaking. The last hundred pages of this book are heartbreaking.


Generic said...

A raw nerve with legs.

Generic said...

DP Blood's a Rover has an element of personal redemption but the trilogy overall is still, I think, an indictment of a country and its political system. It doesn't make me want to vote. Do you personally feel this cynicism and distrust towards the political system, towards politicians?

JE No. I trust our system of governance. But I am not a liberal and people find that shocking. Just utterly shocking. And I wanted to honour in this book the lessons learnt from a woman whose beliefs were inimical to mine and to talk in the abstract about the necessity of conversion and of revolution. But I have not moved left. I have just described the journeys of people who have done so.

DP Knowing what comes later in the 70s and 80s, with Reagan and Iran-Contra, will you go on – another book, another trilogy?

JE I actually greatly admire Ronald Reagan. History has been very kind to him. And I think history will continue to be kind to him. And so this is it. This marks the chronological conclusion of my life's work as a historical novelist.

DP Being presumptuous, looking in from the outside, I would have thought that Reagan was the logical conclusion, the perfect character, for your writing, the marriage of Hollywood and Washington.

JE I always assume people are more leftwing than me.

DP I think it's a fair assumption.

Tulkinghorn said...

I take back what I said about no personality. Peace's "I think that's a fair assumption." is pretty funny.