Read I miei luoghi oscuri by James Ellroy Claudio Sergio Perroni Online


La madre di James Ellroy venne assassinata in una tragica notte a El Monte quando lo scrittore aveva appena dieci anni. La trovarono dei ragazzini, riversa sulla schiena. Il coroner stabilì che era morta per asfissia dovuta a strangolamento mediante lacci. La polizia non scoprì mai chi fosse l'autore di quel brutale omicidio. Trentasei anni dopo Ellroy riapre l'indagine. PLa madre di James Ellroy venne assassinata in una tragica notte a El Monte quando lo scrittore aveva appena dieci anni. La trovarono dei ragazzini, riversa sulla schiena. Il coroner stabilì che era morta per asfissia dovuta a strangolamento mediante lacci. La polizia non scoprì mai chi fosse l'autore di quel brutale omicidio. Trentasei anni dopo Ellroy riapre l'indagine. Presa visione del fascicolo della polizia relativo a quel caso insoluto, lui stesso diventa investigatore per scoprire l'assassino. Con le fotografie del cadavere della madre davanti agli occhi fa della sua autobiografia un romanzo di una forza sorprendente. Costruire storie, prima immaginarie, poi autobiografiche ha permesso a questo grande scrittore di sopportare una realtà cruda e impietosa, di riscrivere le regole del noir, di salvare la figura di sua madre e se stesso dai successi più oscuri della propria coscienza....

Title : I miei luoghi oscuri
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788845229602
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 430 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

I miei luoghi oscuri Reviews

  • Jessica
    2019-04-07 11:45

    I love this goddamn book, and I love James Ellroy. Reading this made me remember why I liked his books so much when I read them years ago, but this is much better than his fiction. Still, I think having read some of his other stuff definitely helped me appreciate this more.Ellroy really gets it. He gets so many things that most people don't: 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.He gets memoir.In my fascist state, anyone who wants to write a memoir has to sit down and read this one first. Then, we sit down in a room together under a bright light and I ask you whether or not you can justify writing an entire book about your life. Has there been anything exceptional about your life that might be of interest to other people? Moreover, are you capable of writing about it in an engaging and emotionally challenging way?James Ellroy's got a lot of heart (in the boxing sense).My Dark Places did not make me cry at any point, which usually disqualifies a book from the five-star rankings. However, I got myself in a bit of a rating bind, because I liked Bright Lights, Big City okay even though it was pretty mediocre, so I gave it three stars. Then I read Less Than Zero and felt like I liked it so much more than BLBC so I had to give it four stars; then I got to this and was like, I can't POSSIBLY give James ELLROY the same number of stars as Brett Easton Ellis...! I've heard something similar happens with grading at a lot of colleges. Bookface inflation is on the rise!My number one favorite thing about Ellroy has always been the way he evokes seedy mid-twentieth-century Los Angeles with such palpable grit and glamor. I love his aesthetics. I love that era, and few writers describe it as convincingly or compellingly as he does. He basically pulls up in a two-toned '57 Buick and wrestles you into his car and forcibly drives you to a certain time and place, and there you are. It's great!My other number one favorite thing about Ellroy is the way he understands and exploits the dynamics of his subject -- his subject being murdered women, in this case his mother, who was brutally killed when he was ten years old. Ellroy understands the eroticism of this kind of violence, and instead of denying or denouncing or sanitizing the eroticism, he embraces and obsesses endlessly on it. Ellroy's is the antithesis to a common facile fascination with ugliness and degeneracy. He plunges straight into the heart of darkness, and then instead of trying to scalp front row seats like so many other interested parties, he casts himself in a starring role, and hams it up.To me Ellroy represents a certain type of guy who has baptized himself in some hardboiled, vastly unappealing fires -- guys who have seen terrible things, done terrible deeds, been terrible people -- and come out the other side with all the bullshit burned away, naked and sensitive as a wizened, tragic, tiny little boy.Here's my favorite passage from the book. It's about Ellroy and a retired cop whom he enlists to help him solve the mystery of his mother's murder almost forty years after it occurred:We drove. We talked. We spun off our case and encapsulated the whole criminal world. We drove freeways and surface streets. Bill pointed out body dump locales and riffed on his old cases. I described my pathetic crime exploits. Bill described his patrol years with picaresque zeal. We both worshiped testosterone overload. We both reveled in tales of male energy displaced. We both saw through it. We both knew it killed my mother. Bill saw my mother's death in full-blown context. I loved him for it.It rained like a motherfucker all through January. We sat out rush-hour traffic and freeway floods. We hit the Pacific Dining Car and ate big steak dinners. We talked. I started to see how much we both hated sloth and disorder. I lived in it for 20 years solid. Bill lived it once-removed as a cop. Sloth and disorder could be sensual and seductive. We both knew it. We both understood the rush. It came back to testosterone. You had to control. You had to assert. It got crazy and forced you to capitulate and surrender. Cheap pleasure was a damnable temptation. Booze and dope and random sex gave you back a cheap version of the power you set out to relinquish. They destroyed your will to live a decent life. They sparked crime. They destroyed social contracts. The time-lost/time-regained dynamic taught me that. Pundits blamed crime on poverty and racism. They were right. I saw crime as a concurrent moral plague with entirely empathetic origins. Crime was male energy displaced. Crime was a mass yearning for ecstatic surrender. Crime was romantic yearning gone bad. Crime was the sloth and disorder of individual default on an epidemic scale. Free will existed. Human beings were better than lab rats reacting to stimuli. The world was a fucked-up place. We were all accountable anyway.I knew it. Bill knew it. He tempered his knowledge with a greater sense of charity than I did. I judged myself harshly and passed the standards of my self-judgment on to other people. Bill believed in mitigation more than I did. He wanted me to extend a sense of mitigation to my mother (pp. 353-354).I really appreciated Ellroy's perspectives on crime, especially since I'm about to start a new job in forensic social work. I've always thought there were some interesting parallels between crime novels and the social service work I do (for example, there's a lot of crossover in populations dealt with, and similar issues of vicarious trauma for cops and social workers) and reading this felt very timely. I appreciate having another perspective than the one I'm used to, and I liked reading his thoughts about victimhood. I'm not sure if I'll let him keep all five stars -- I might go back and assign Bright Lights, Big City two, and readjust everything downward -- but for now I feel he's earned this. I tore through this book, and neglected other duties and activities so that I could read it. One thing that was interesting to me while reading was that I didn't find the graphic descriptions in this book particularly frightening or disturbing. I think that might be because I felt I trusted Ellroy, and the spirit in which he wrote.Anyway, this, like too many of my recent book reports, has become overly long. Sorry! In closing: I definitely recommend this to anyone with an interest in crime novels, especially if they don't mind a few graphic oedipal rape/murder details.I thought this was just great. I really did!

  • brian
    2019-04-04 08:48

    in the grand tradition started by those two saucy goodreads wenches (that's karen and 'tambo, of course), i present my own offering: a pic of one of my heroes, james 'demon dog' ellroy, with his arm around me and manny. further down is another pic of him shouting profanities and right-wing slogans in the course of his reading. fucking gorgeous madman. after the reading i took the bigass cardboard display featuring the cover of blood's a rover and had him to sign it to jack. jack is a pitbull. ellroy's a pitbull man. he grabbed the silver pen and drew a frenzied picture of jack with a HUUUUGE schlong and a word bubble coming out of jack's mouth: 'i give good snout' ellroy launched into an insane twisted and labyrinthian monologue, starting with a variation on the classic:"Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps. I'm 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. I'm the author of 16 books, masterpieces all; they precede all my 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."it must be mentioned that ellroy talked to me about 'tambo for a while. her eyes, her hair, and her boy problems. it seems that someone has a crush... the demon dog (he actually referred to himself as the 'death dog' this time around) looooooves tambo as much as the rest of us. AAAHHH!! also: he showed up with DON CRUTCHFIELD! crutch is the lead character in blood's a rover. and a real guy! we flipped the fuck out! crutch is an ex-PI and that great old hollywood type: thinning blown-back hair, thick gin-blossomed face, no tie, open shirt, mucho tales to tell. standing alone chatting with crutchfield, i must admit i was slightly startled as he told stories of police brutality from back in the day*, as well as his own stories of murder: "now scotty killed about 17. my number's not that high, but it's up there!" whew. here's crutch's website. it's really demented and amazing: has been ramrodding & firebombing his way through american history and offering up as profound and fucked a spin on the 20th century as has been done... that he's also this great theatrical madhouse, this fuckoff 'death dog' of a bastard, this mega-lunatic 60 yr old powerhouse... shit. the motherfucker is the antidote to all that reeks of 'quiet desperation'. VIVA DEATH DOG! * "scotty stood on that guy's throat and then we just heard a crack. he looked down and realized he'd snapped his neck and killed the guy. 'too much fucking paperwork' scotty said. so we just left."

  • Chris
    2019-03-29 11:00

    You won, Mr. Ellroy. You won. It took 283 pages. Your short, staccato sentences finally defeated me. I couldn't take it anymore. So I quit. If I were to meet you in person, you'd laugh at me. You'd call yourself a genius. You'd call me a fucking idiot. You'd be right. You are a genius. I am a fucking idiot. That doesn't change the fact that your memoir is practically unreadable. I was able to decipher a few things from what I read. I know that you're a weird dude. I know that your dad had a huge whanger. Your mom had red hair and you're obsessed with her. I know that you like to toss around every epithet in the book. It's not because you're a bigot. You're just so cool that you're beyond all that stuff. I know that men will kill for just about any reason one can imagine. Women usually kill because of the wrongs of men. I liked a lot of your memoir. It just wore me down. It also bored me after a while. I'm starting to worry that I won't like your Underworld USA Trilogy. This memoir was supposed to be a lead-in to those books. It was supposed to be the lube that helped those big, fat books enter me without any pain. But now I'm not horny at all, Mr. Ellroy. I'm just cold, confused, and lonely.

  • Bobby Underwood
    2019-03-26 14:07

    Because there is no secret what this book is about, I didn’t feel the need to mark it as containing spoilers. If, however, you are coming at this book cold, and don’t know the well-publicized story of Ellroy’s dark past, you might want to skip this review.While I loved the film adaptation of Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential, I must confess that he isn’t a favorite of mine. But I am aware of his work and have read enough to know he’s certainly got something. In essence, this autobiographical memoir is another crime novel from James Ellroy, and like all great crime novels, this one begins with a compelling murder. Kids playing baseball would find her body in some ivy in El Monte, California. From a disheveled dress and an exposed upper chest, to ligatures constricted with such force they were only three inches in diameter, Ellroy describes the crime scene and those opening weeks of the investigation with his familiar staccato style. There is more here than meets the eye, however, because reading this is tantamount to listening in on a therapy session as a patient purges his inner demons. We begin to see a picture of a 10 year old boy whose entire life has been ruled by a crime; not just any crime, but the brutal murder of that pretty redheaded woman in the ivy. Her name was Jean Ellroy. That boy is author James Ellroy.She got a divorce and started over in El Monte with her son. She tried to balance the two worlds of her drinking and promiscuity with her work as a nurse and the solid life she was trying to give her son. Those two worlds would merge on a King's Row curb. This memoir is a dance of reconciliation for Ellroy, an attempt to separate her death from her life, and make her ghost become a real person. Brutal and unflinching in its honesty, this memoir is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. It is a true crime story that reads like a police procedural. The crimes are real. The people — especially Ellroy — are messed up. The names have not been changed, because there are no innocents.Once we realize this is Ellroy's love letter to his slain mother, we can't put it down. Ellroy describes in detail and with brutal candor the bitterness between his mother and father, and the war they fought for his loyalty — the worst thing you can do to a kid. Once she was dead, he would obsess over her, and run from her murder his entire adult life. He spouted racist propaganda and hate just to get attention. The parenting skills of his father, which can best be described as permissive neglect, left him with too much freedom and far too much time on his hands. Time he would use for elaborate fantasies about his mother. He formed an obsession with the Betty Short-Black Dahlia murder, who became a surrogate for his mother. And in every fantasy, Ellroy would save women in a way he could not save his own mother, and they would be grateful. His torment led to years of drug and alcohol abuse, finally escalating into voyeurism and crime. This produced temporary highs finally coming to a screeching halt when his mind had had enough, and decided to take a timeout. Once Ellroy got his mind working again, he found work as a golf caddy and began writing crime novels. After some success, he finally decided to face his mother's ghost by solving her murder. Unbelievably, this memoir has just begun.Detective Bill Stoner was living with dead women as well, and Ellroy brings them all to life for the reader as he takes us into the world of cops and crime. Cops like Stoner knew about obsession. Ellroy explains that almost all homicide cops love the old film "Laura." Because they too have all fallen in love with dead girls, just like Dana Andrews does in this cinematic masterpiece. Stoner was leaving the job after 32 years, the last 12 spent in homicide. Stoner was a well known and respected cop willing to help Ellroy find closure. Stoner was the cop responsible for solving the famous Cotton Club murder, and felt he understood Ellroy, because both were living with dead girls. Ellroy pays homage to the ghosts of Stoner's women along the way, making sure you will always remember names like Bunny Krauch and Susan Hamway. You will remember a baby murdered by proxy. Perhaps foremost, you will remember young and innocent Tracy Lea Stewart. Convictions could never equal closure.In this dark and mesmerizing memoir the reader spends over a year with Stoner and Ellroy as they probe the memories of old cops and witnesses, and chase down leads. They would go public in GQ Magazine and on TV with Unsolved Mysteries. Though this memoir is brutal and sad, it is also tense and exciting, and at times, very funny. I cannot tell you the ending, or even if there is one. What I have described of this brilliant book is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s not an easy read, and it isn’t for the delicate. But if you can grit your teeth and take it, it is very compelling. A brave if sometimes unpleasant look inward by Ellroy that you will never forget after turning the final page. Unfortunately, you will never forget a lot of things, so be forewarned, this will definitely take you out of your comfort zone.

  • Matt
    2019-04-23 15:09

    The murder rate in this part of the country seems to have steadily increased over the last fifteen to twenty years. I have no empirical evidence to back up this claim, only the fact that I have noticed a greater frequency over time in the local television station doing what I call the ritual. The ritual consists of at least four distinct movements. The first is the sudden announcement that a murder has happened. No names or locations are released, thus getting everyone who is paying any attention at all abuzz with excitement or worry. People with little to do take a greater interest in any law enforcement activity going on in the area during this phase. This soon gives way to phase two: The release of the victim’s name and the location of the incident. Any incidental details that register as either strange or disturbing are also revealed at this point. Phase three seems designed to occur as quickly as possible after phase two. It involves seeking out a friend or loved one of the victim and securing an on-camera interview. Everything that follows such as the investigation, arrest, and trial falls under phase four for the purposes of the sloppy categorization that I have going on here.Phase three is the one that has always caused me discomfort. It just seems wrong to shove a camera in the face of someone who has only recently found out that a friend or family member has been murdered and ask them for their thoughts on the matter. Often the viewers at home are treated to the sight of someone who may not be too articulate to begin with trying to form words around tears. The broadcasted image leads to conflicted thoughts of sadness and empathy for the person’s loss mixed with a cringing embarrassment over the spectacle that they have allowed themselves to be caught up in.Obviously it would be a bit short-sighted to place all of the blame on the news media for approaching stories in this way. Similar to Paris Hilton or emails for herbal male enhancement products, there has to be a market for this type of thing somewhere out there or else it would just dry up and go away, right? In my more wrong-headed moments I would also tend to chalk this up to being a symptom of these current times. However, when I saw the photo of ten-year-old Lee Ellroy only moments after he was told that his mother had been murdered along with the accompanying explanation behind the photo of the journalist who lead him into the landlord’s woodshop and posed him at the workbench, it became obvious that there is really nothing new about phase three. It would be an understatement to say that such an event is going to cause some developmental issues in a child. Raised in a permissive environment with a father who wanted to be more like an older brother (and this is one of his more attractive personality traits), young Lee grew up to be just about the biggest jack off walking the streets, both figuratively and literally. He delves into a life of petty thievery, addiction, and perversion (I’m trying to avoid that skinless flute joke that I want to make right here…) and appears to be on the senseless path of one day becoming either victim or murderer in his own right. Something happens along the way, however, as Lee turns his obsessions with the Black Dahlia and his own mother outwards, changes his first name to James, and starts down the path to becoming a great crime writer. His mother’s case is never solved, and this is something that he feels he must attempt to rectify years later.On the surface this book is about the reinvestigation into the murder of Geneva Hilliker Ellroy, but there are so many other things going on here such as a biographical portrait of Ellroy himself along with an examination of the very tumultuous relationship that he had with both of his parents. One surmises that this title served to provide Ellroy with both a reconciliation along with a small sense of closure over the crummy hand that he had been dealt in his early years. He shows tremendous courage in the unflinching way that he relates the details of his youthful escapades along with the unresolved sexual conflicts that he had towards his mother.Having said that, I had some trouble getting totally wrapped up in the police procedural aspects of this book. This is most likely splitting hairs on matters of personal preference, as I’m not naturally drawn to most crime fiction or cop shows. Under Ellroy’s tight prose hand I still found these sections interesting, but for me they did not pack that enthralling brass knuckle punch in the stomach that his fiction does.There was one other minor complaint that I had with this book. Ellroy seemed to gloss over the moment where he marshaled the will to turn from jack off Lee to hard-ass, demon dog James. It reads almost like Clark Kent bumbling into the telephone booth and emerging as Superman and I wanted more details. A sentence near the end of the book made me reconsider this judgment. The paperwork and the pictures formed a life in ellipsis. Pg. 343 This sentence was a resulting final reflection on his mother as he moved pictures of her around on his desk along with police reports of the murder to look at them in different juxtapositions. It was then that it dawned on me that a recurring image in this book is his constant rearrangement of images and facts in search of newer, less visible meanings. He was constantly doing this either at his desk, on a cork board, or inside of his own head. In my mind, this single personality trait speaks volumes of insight into the Lee/James question that I was so curious about.

  • pierlapoquimby
    2019-04-15 10:09

    Uno dei libri più intensi che abbia mai letto.I luoghi oscuri del titolo sono quelli del passato di Ellroy, un passato a dir poco turbolento, profondamente segnato dall'evento cardine della sua giovinezza: l'assassinio della madre.L'Ellroy che emerge da queste pagine è quanto mai vero, da un lato determinato a venire a capo di quell'omicidio irrisolto e dall'altro fragile come il bambino che era quando gli ammazzarono la mamma.

  • Paul
    2019-04-21 16:04

    Searing look into the tortured life one of crime fiction's most talented authors, James Ellroy. Obsessed with the murder of his mother at a mere 10 years old, it was the fulcrum crisis on which his life hinged, starting a serious downward spiral that almost led to his own demise. Manipulated by his wastrel father all his life, Ellroy soon became a thief, a burglar, a stalker, a drug addict and a vagrant.Ellroy writes in his usual staccato style, bare and concise, that keeps the pages turning. His mother’s murder parallels the huge media sensation of that era, The Black Dahlia, and its easy to see where that would lead. A love of reading became his lifeline in a chaotic world, perhaps the only sane habit he had until his thirties. His open description of his turbulent lifestyle during this period is one of the book's strongpoints, both mesmerizing and shocking.Unfortunately, it seems like Ellroy may have been reaching for a certain word count in My Dark Places. Repetitive information about his own investigation into Jean Ellroy’s murder is almost the book's undoing in the final third section. It could have done with a hundred page edit easily, which would have certainly raised my rating to a strong 5 stars. Any fan of Ellroy would certainly enjoy this book. It’s a fascinating introspection that reveals a lot of how the author’s style develops: his addiction to amphetamines perhaps lending to his breakneck style of writing, his choice of writing crime fiction certainly influenced by theories of his unsolved mother’s homicide, his use of slang and street talk picked up by his own life of crime, aided by era-spanning investigations with police officers, and a life on the streets.Ellroy continues to amaze me with his panache and ruthless prose. If this guy wrote a clothes catalogue, I would find a way to give it four stars.

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-08 15:44

    For the core depth to the personality and life record of James Ellroy this gets a 5 star. For the writing style and word craft aspect of its exhaustion to that prime cause, it gets a 1 star. YES, this is that EXTREME example of a book, non-fiction or not, that in varying aspects can be rated at both ends of the spectrum. If it is the enjoyment factor that is central to the star level, then it would also be various, IMHO. At times the read was a 4 plus, and at others a 2 at the very most. There is about 25 to 35% of this book that occurs within his addiction, low-life, and utterly useless to himself or others existence- that was definitely, for me, under a 2 star level for any enjoyment. Similar to watching a dire accident, sick animal or other self-mutilating endeavor over and over again on a film loop. I can absolutely understand how this book could result in a majority of quitters at sometime during that point.Also the repetition in his life for the "redhead" case. Both in the original and in the cold case years- was so IMMENSE. This quite apart from all the dead ends or side cases in relation or similar (Tracy's murder). So that the book's clarity is absolutely lost for continuity or structures of connection maybe 100 times x 2 by the 85% point. That's when the trial for Tracy Stewart's murder occurs. In the same building and at the same time as the O.J. Simpson trial. As James says repeatedly- his life association is always just the "lounge act" ignored for the star stringer in the main attention circle.This book has maybe 200 or 300 perps or cases or side names for interview and reference. It is written in stark, blunt, 7 or 8 word sentences. And some of those in /within the same paragraph have absolutely nothing to do with each other. So the end result is for a cognition similar to a meth junkie on LSD trying to mouth and mime the entire police department record of dispatch calls for a month. And then trying to repeat those calls with the police jargon singular word category of type within a 5 minute period of time.Did you understand that? I doubt it. But know I just popped a literary style gig for James Elroy. This would have been a 4 star for me if he would not have copped out. (Yes, COPPED out!!) He twisted a space of 2 years when/after he left the inhaler and break in for food, goodies behind. How and why? Prisons didn't do it. You get this small taste of AA that he disdains, and then all of a turn- it is a couple of years later and he has "gotten" it. What turned the screw to pull this altering off when he was 30??? And especially since his cognition, clearly from 10 years of age too, was one to bloat, pile give mes, and fulfill any point of user manipulation he could for his own minute to minute purposes? That was a cop out. He always held the obsession with his mother even before her murder, so what was the turnaround for quitting the junk, user, and criminal life and for the beginning to working a possible "other" structure?? THAT in this length of book would have been essential to the whole. You would think.But James as the author and the virtuous rebel emerges in early middle age of 30. Eventually he has appeared. And the diligence to months to years of work for seeking Jean's knowledge and revenge (both) proceed with each morsel and atom of minutia in detail to how and where. With Stoner's help and others of his jailhouse acquaintances too-both in and out of the copper fold. Never truly in singular is James on a task here. Another interesting but rather glossed over tidbit inherent considering the length of this book.Compelling read about L.A. in a former time. It approaches 5 star in his descriptive world of "home" during the 1957-59 period, especially. Remembering the 1950's as a kid myself! (Born in the very same year as James Elroy too.) It is difficult for me to imagine such role models or "norms" he had. And even worse, the parental "eyeball" views he garnered. Boomers with more than 200 kids on my city block of 40 houses- I never once heard a swear word. It couldn't have been more different than James had.This book is dark and it is long. Murder is numerous and rape is almost universal. And it is unreadable English in large sections. But it does reveal the parts of his mind connections and soul voids that is, are, and were- James Ellroy. It does do that to a 4 star.Sodom and Gomorrah seem, to me, more like Disney versions of evil compared to James Ellroy's L.A. neighborhood. During all of this reading time, I figured if "the Blonde" was the mouth toward any knowledge for the "Swarthy man"- she was also probably buried under a bus bench or strip mall siding somewhere for decades too. Similar to the Tracy disappearance crime. And the meaningless film loop wasn't only for James' inhaler, drug, and booze binge cycle. It proceeds too toward any contact with or information to identity for the BLONDE. After 30 years, it's harder to find witness the longer the "eyes" are closed. Especially if the body is never found. So I assumed she was a goner.Some of these women had 7 or 8 names too. Not only by marriage and divorce, but also by street or showbiz trade. And no death certificates for any of those names either.After all was ended in this read, which took me 3 times longer than usual for the length- I ponder. I do ponder. Because I am not sorry I read it, but I do know that I would not want to read the fiction set in his mind/worldview. It's too fried, and murky. Both.And I have to add this at the end. I just have to as being a human who does not and never will accept this current assumed definition for a kind or type of moral relativity philosophy. Some of these reviews, I just read them now- seem to connote that "getting" the attraction of violence in sexual attraction and behaviors is a good thing. HUH!!! As if people or especially women who are used by men like James or the perps in their "twisted baptism of fire" are not annihilated (if not completely destroyed) and the born-again or not men are old now and yet somehow happily justified in their firey paths to "knowledge of self progressions". Nope, to me James is no hero. Not in any sense.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-03-31 15:52

    This evocative and eerie memoir, set in the 1950's explores a mysterious and disturbing crime that haunted the author all his life.

  • Abailart
    2019-03-25 16:11

    Relelentlessly energetic prose, thin with detail and thick with life: as autobiography bordering on fiction, it is largely a conscious reflection upon the thin procedural lines, maps, data of detective work and memory, and the thick emotional heat of memory as powerful as instinct. Though ‘factual’, incredibly fact-stuffed recording of events and contingencies, the end result is a wasteland of strewn debris where everything is disconnected: against the urge for connection, maybe the book’s core theme, is its impossibility as everything is broken, fabricated, boarded over, shabby, forgotten, confabulated, and it’s in a valley full of “shitty lives” and the valley of broken lives, broken streets, promises, plans, hopes, loves is in each of those lives. Every sentence is one of three things: a fact, an epigram or a mixture of both. And each sentence is as precisely sharp and powerful and efficient as a bullet. Take this: “The murder was an epigram on transient lives and impacted sex as death.” Sex and death, love and violence are inseparable. Powerlessness vies with testosterone-driven masculinity that breaks women, consumes and discards them: “You had to control. You had to exert….Booze and dope and random sex gave you back a cheap version of the power you set out to relinquish. They destroyed your will to live a decent life.” Cheap, glandular responses to the “shitty life”. Earlier, “Sex obsession was love six times or six thousand times removed.” This is a deeply, deeply moral book. The honesty of the author’s laying himself out like a corpse on an autopsy slab is brilliant and terrifying. He is the eternal man caught between fierce probity, rectitude, puritantical intensity on the one hand, and on the other profligacy, shitty responses to a shitty world, and the constant threat of final renunciation of decency and goodness. “I was a moralistic and judgmental zealot operating on a time-lost/life regained dynamic. I expected my women to toe the hard-work line and submit to the charismatic force I thought I possessed and fuck me comatose and make me submit to their charisma and moral rectitude on an equitable basis.” To understand the world as a function of memory gleaning a body of facts may be numbingly comfortable but it is six or six thousand removes from life, settling for all thin and no thick. In his obsessive (thick) chasing of evidence about his mother’s murder he gleaned millions of (thin) facts, then realised that all these facts as sole carrier of ‘evidence’ were taking him in the opposite direction of what was driving him on, which was not to find her murderer but to find the woman he had lost, or never let himself know. His ultimate acts of memory are exquisitively hard, literally physical work involving solitary extended periods in darkness, bringing his whole will to bear on that which he seeks in the fragmented mess of his dark places. The book consciously and repeatedly comments on the nature of memory. The short Chapter 26 is given over to it. And it is as much about his memory and his dark places as our own. Think for example of how he remembers his mother’s remembering seeing Dillinger’s getting shot, and his conclusion (through various techniques, slants, methods, hunches of memory) of how she did not factually see this at all but constructed the memory from a near truth, her being literally near the shooting when it happened and possibly hearing the shot (memory is a place, remember), compounded with subsequent news reports, gossip, pictures and so on. And to emphasise the explicit recognition that memory is place or places, and also to show the slightly different, less driven tone of his reflective style, of his investigations he says: “My memories were running in straight chronological lines. May fantasies were running as adjuncts and outtakes. I thought I’d be criss-crossing the memory map. I thought I’d be stumbling over real-life minutae. I was on the road to recollection. I’d conjured up Tweed perfume and some period snapshots. I was running a linear flowchart.” That raising re-membering memory into recollection is important, and the italicised endpiece of the book, an address to his mother, suggests the Proustian magnitude of what a memory of perfume over a memory of a ‘fact’ may bring: I’ll learn more. I’ll follow your tracks and invade your hidden time. I’ll uncover your lies. I’ll rewrite your history and revise my judgment as your old secrets explode. Yes, it is about the process of history itself. The ‘lies’ he will uncover are innocent lies, a rewording to the denials he exposes in himself and his society as he and it try to construct a memory of good times in a reality of shittiness, For addicts, there is a specific point. Ellroy was in pretty bad trouble with inhalants, alcohol and other stuff. He just stopped. He decided to stop and stopped. He was doing some pretty bad things too and really messing up people. Again he decided to stop being like this, he expressed a will to decency. On his own, by his Self. It is certainly a crucial point to ponder, but Ellroy has a contempt he can only express in passing so low does he value some aspects of modern America: he hates the way what used to be obviously good and bad have been confused in professional jargon and sociobabble and psychobabble; he scorns “twelve steps evangelists”, “therapy freaks”, “dilettantees, incompetents, rock&rollers”. I don’t think I’d enjoy a curry with the guy, and that he would have contempt and disdain not only for some of my own values and way of life but also those of most people I know. But I do think this is a brilliant book, and end by repeating that it is a book that like none I have read from recent times is starkly set in a moral framework. I suppose you could just read it for entertainment and nothing wrong with that. But if you engage with it at the sorts of levels I have been trying to indicate, you will have to question not only his values but crucially your own. And the questioning, like memory, will have to be moral.

  • Kim
    2019-04-07 12:55

    At some time between 35 and 40 I started on this downward (?) spiral of crime shows. I was never one to really watch them and couldn’t understand the appeal, but after my fourth child I caught a Law and Order marathon and was hooked. It moved on from there… as did the spin offs and then came CSI and all its iterations and then Criminal Minds and oh hell, Dexter… love that guy…. It got to the point that my children would get that Dr. Phil look and ask me why I watched these shows. I really don’t know. But, it’s not like there isn’t an audience… BIO is totally feeding my addiction with I dated a Psycho’ and ‘Monstresses’ and “Bad Husbands’ and ‘Casanova Killers’...Christ.. stop me now.It is not something I’m particularly proud of. True Crime books were never a big draw though. I often wondered why… maybe my escapism was limited to the cathode colored pictures and not the images that I could conjure in my own twisted mind. I guess I didn’t want to go there. I’ve read In Cold Blood, I’ve read Helter Skelter… I GUESS I want to read a lot more than I thought.. I have quite a few 'I want to read'books from this list on GR…. Maybe I’m (d)evolving. My Dark Places is rubbernecking at its best. I mean the first line: “Some kids found her.” Is that how he thinks when people ask about his mom? First blush? ‘Some kids found her.’ I totally get that. I love it. Ellroy was 10 when his mom was murdered. He was in his 40s when he began to deal with it. I get that too. I think that you grow up with one set of memories of your parents and when you become a parent you start to see that memories are easily manipulated. Not that Ellroy has, he just got sober and thought ‘what the fuck, time to deal.’ Or at least that’s what I assume happened.“ I lived in two worlds.Compulsive fantasies ruled my inner world. The outside world intruded all too often. I never learned to hoard my thoughts and hold them for private moments. My two worlds clashed continually. I wanted to crash the outside world. I wanted to wow the outside world with my sense of drama. I knew that access to my thoughts would make people love me. It was a common teenage conceit. I wanted to take my thoughts public. I possessed exhibitionist flair---but lacked stage presence and control of my effects. I came off as a desperate clown.”Ellroy is one fucked up muthafuckah. But, man is he elegant. He gives us ‘just the facts, ma’am’ and then switches to hardcore ‘this is your life, Leroy Ellroy’ back again to objective timelines… but the whole time you can feel him start to unravel.. start to see that what he thought was real was just the ‘inner world’ that molded him. His first love was Elizabeth Short. He played serial killer and savior within the same fantasy. He biked to famous kill spots around Hollywood. He went through a Nazi fascist phase, he chewed on prophylhexedrine cotton wads, lived in parks and ran from voices only he could hear. AGAIN. FUCKED UP.Yes, it’s tragic. But, he comes off as stronger for it and damn…, I love me a good dysfunctional man. What I loved most were the interludes between each section. These little notes to his mother. These are what would keep me coming back. Making me believe there is something worth saving. “ A cheap Saturday night took you down. You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear.Your run to safety was a brief reprieve. You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm. I failed you as a talisman—so I stand now as your witness.Your death defines my life. I want to find the love we never had and explicate it in your name.I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us.I want to give you breath."As regret goes, that fucking elegant.

  • Alan
    2019-04-11 15:50

    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 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:This is a deeply, deeply moral book. The honesty of the author’s laying himself out like a corpse on an autopsy slab is brilliant and terrifying Jessica'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. He gets memoir. 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.

  • La Mala ✌
    2019-04-01 12:09

    Varios meses sufri las idas y venidas de la investigacion de Ellroy . Muchas historias pertubadoras sobre crimenes paralelos a la pelirroja Jean . Muchas mujeres muertas solo por el hecho de ser mujeres . MUchos hombres que impusieron crueldad solamente porque podian , porque la sociedad lo permitia . Muchas , interminables injusticias que ELlroy explora sin esconder detalles . Mucha maldad , machismo y violencia de genero que brota por los poros del mundo y en particular , en esta nacion violenta que recorre el autor de viaje en viaje . Aca estan esos horrores documentados con la imparcialidad de un ajeno al dolor ; es eso , es lo explicito , la honestidad brutal que hace que este recuento de evidencias y hechos , mentiras y verdades , sea la excelencia que es . ELLROY X ELLROY . Con todas sus rarezas y todos sus defectos , que sin querer queriendo da catedra sobre quienes son las oprimidas y las victimas de siempre . Y como la gente se acosumbra a que lo sean ( y eso es lo peor de todo , no?)---------------------------------Estoy en una racha de crimenes sin resolver que no puedo parar ( La mujer de Isdal , Mary Rogers , el caso Taman Shud , ENTRE OTROS apasionantes misterios sin resolver de esos que te sacan el sueño...) y cai en esta autobiografia del autor de L.A. CONFIDENTIAL , cuya madre ES un cold case . Veamos que tal esta ...

  • Lauren
    2019-03-24 11:04

    Narrative was my moral language.James Ellroy's mother, Geneva "Jean" Hilliker Ellroy, was murdered in 1958. Her murder went unsolved, and her son spent his succeeding decades in the shadow of that event and its lack of resolution. By 1996, when Ellroy published My Dark Places, the only resolution left was longing and the drive to understand. It's not spoiling anything to say that though this memoir in part chronicles Ellroy's attempt--aided by Bill Stoner, cold-case cop extraordinaire--to find the man who killed his mother, he ends the book not knowing.On the way, you get a lot of investigative detail--eyewitnesses disagree with each other about ethnicities, people's memories get fuzzy, tangents are pursued, stomach contents parsed--but this isn't really traditional true crime. It has its sections of straightforward reportage, but the heart of the book is the long middle section that details Ellroy's long period of grief and delinquency. I've never read anything quite like it. The closest thing I can think of is the raw, undignified moment in The Sharpshooter Blues's where a grieving father puts his son's toothbrush in his mouth to taste his spit, and that's a moment, and this section lasts years. Ellroy's recounting of his alienated lust, his peeping tom history, his panic, his hatred, his performative racism and anti-Semitism, his drinking, his drug use... all of it is laid out with unapologetic bareness and self-knowledge. This is who he was, in some ways maybe who he still is, and he knows that. I don't know how to explain this, exactly (good thing I'm not writing a review, right?), but there's a real beauty and power to that. One of Ellroy's strengths as a novelist is describing things and people as they are, with all attendant ugliness, and then going on to care anyway, and through all the ugliness rather than despite it, and here he turns that on himself with the same superb skill. It's a little breathtaking, and he's persuasive enough that I came away from it feeling like I was the one who'd confessed to something.The other bravura section is the one on Bill Stoner, and on the obsessions and fixations homicide cops develop for the women they can't save. It's another section that impresses with its baldness. True crime gets accused of fetishizing dead white women, and instead of denying it, Ellroy--who never strikes me as a writer particularly inclined to deny anything--just notes that as the beginning step. Yeah. He's obsessed, Bill Stoner's obsessed, everyone's obsessed, and here's what that looks like and what it means, here's what it feels like from the inside, here's how you contain it and deal with it, here's the nobility in it, here's where it fails.All of which leaves you as a book that isn't essential reading as a nonfiction account of a murder investigation but is essential reading as autobiography, James Ellroy's and America's. It's only downside is that it sometimes tries to be both of those things at once, but it doesn't have to be perfect to be genuinely great in the oldest sense of the word.

  • Νατάσσα
    2019-04-14 15:53

    Απίστευτα βαρύ, σκοτεινό, δυνατό βιβλίο.

  • David Groves
    2019-04-09 14:46

    I started reading this book a couple days ago, and was riveted for a few pages. However, bit by bit, my interest flagged, until finally now, at page 97, I'm giving up on it. I don't see my interest in the book surging because I don't like where he's going with the whole thing.Ellroy started out giving a detailed account of the murder, starting out with the discovery of the corpse by some Little League baseball players and their fathers, and then the police coming and trying to figure out the woman's identity. Of course her identity is James Ellroy's mother. Early on, the police are described telling the 10-year-old James Ellroy that his mother was murdered, and it's glossed over in a brusque, hard-boiled cop kind of way: "The boy was bucking up nicely. He was hanging in tough all the way." Later, he informs the reader that the boy opted not to go to the funeral by saying, in that tough-guy way of his: "Jean's son copped a plea and stayed away."In fact, the whole first section, which describes the murder and the investigation, is so devoid of emotion that it points to something sad and disturbing that the author still obviously hasn't gotten over. I was looking forward to a deep, insightful peek into what murder does to a victim's son, but got nothing except for chomp-on-a-cigar kind of analysis.In the second section, titled, "The Kid in the Picture," Ellroy reveals what was going on with the kid. But even though he's talking about emotion, I get no feeling for it. He describes his father as being "hung like a horse," and then he talks about his mother's funeral and his uncle, who shows up, and apropos to nothing, describes him as being "superficially handsome and hung like a mule." I guess Ellroy judges men's characters on how they're hung. Personally, that's not what I think about when I meet someone, especially a relative. Then he starts getting into his sexual preferences, which certainly aren't mine--"Heavy legs and bra-strap markings drove me crazy"--and I looked for the exit.I looked at the Amazon reviews for hints of what lay ahead, and there's a section about the detective's greatest cases (yawn), and finally, the detective and the author's renewed investigation into the case, which apparently doesn't end up with anything conclusive. Personally, a murder mystery without a resolution is a big ho-hum for me, so I put the book and don't expect to pick it up again. The prose is passable, but the book was conceived so wrongly and executed so insincerely that I can't really recommend it at all.

  • Josh
    2019-04-16 07:44

    In 'My Dark Places' James Ellroy reenacts his mothers murder by canvasing the pages of the cold case murder book to deliver a matter-of-fact police procedural with a high degree of emotional detachment - more noticeable given the difficult primary subject. Initially overly descriptive and heavy on nostalgia, this open heart semi biography brings life to ghosts long forgotten and illuminates the troubles of a younger James Ellroy. Both inspiring and frustrating, the procession of the later investigation blends unnecessary and unrelated cases with Ellroy's intriguing real-life murder mystery. Whereas the core focus was on attempting to account for his mothers untimely death, Ellroy did have a tendency to get side tracked and devote too much devil to the detail. One could be excused for thinking this was scripted, the plot had it all; a beautiful woman slain, a child turned bad, an obsession with crime and woman, echoes of a serial killer, a cold case heated by a son's quest for answers, and a whole of lot family drama. Throw in a few emotional twists and there isn't much to separate 'My Dark Places' from blockbuster fiction - except fact. This was a hard book to read - at times bogged down with insignificant detail and internal dialogue - while others, unrelenting and utterly captivating. 'My Dark Places' is just that, Ellroy takes the reader deep inside his soul leaving no dark, damp corner unmolested or blood soaked stone unturned - 3.5 stars.

  • Lee
    2019-04-09 13:04

    Loved the phrasing and the author's druggie homeless pervo life story more than the catalogue of vivisected women and the facts of various crimes. Descriptions of mucho paperwork and the prose form the life of the author's murdered mother in ellipsis. Read most of it on location in LA and maybe liked it since I'd just been on the same streets and freeways. Read it thanks to Bolano's recommendation in "Between Parentheses" and liked seeing how this one's occasional transition-less lists of crimes clearly influenced 2666's famous catalogue of vivisected women. The crime's unsolved but it's more an obsessive search for someone long lost than an attempt at closure via belated justice. At times the best DeLillo-y clipped and sculpted language ever. But also often surprisingly boring/stolid/mechanically fact-heavy flat, like the famous 300 pages of 2666. Will definitely read a few Ellroy novels this summer.

  • Stuart
    2019-03-28 14:58

    Here is an intensely personal book by James Ellroy that explores the unsolved murder of his mother when he was just a young boy. It is more of a detective procedural story, without the flash and action of his fiction books. And yet for those familiar for his work, it clearly illuminates his fascination and obsession with the secret and desperate lives of unremarkable people that rarely gets exposed to the larger public. Highly recommended after you have read several of his other books first.

  • Zozetta
    2019-04-04 15:06

    "Οι νεκροί ανήκουν στους ζωντανούς που τους διεκδικούν με τη μεγαλύτερη εμμονή. Ήταν ολοκληρωτικά δική μου".Εφιαλτικό όσον αφορά τους αριθμούς και τα διότι των γυναικών που έχουν δολοφονηθεί. Σπαραχτικό όσον αφορά τη σχέση του Ellroy με τη μητέρα του. Όχι δεν είναι ένα νουάρ μυθιστόρημα. Είναι στην κυριολεξία τα σκοτάδια του.

  • gaby
    2019-04-09 14:09

    Obsessive, blunt, dark. Genuine. Painful. Lurid. Riveting. Never maudlin, never easy. Ellroy's dark places are spellbinding. This memoir reads like a tabloid, a film treatment, a dark opus, a final lovesong, full blooded and bloody. This is ground zero for Ellroy's fucked up skull. Dead women, dead ends, lust lost, love lost. His life. Her death. Los Angeles.

  • Jackie
    2019-04-13 14:13

    Jean was such a goddamn secretive woman. Her life just didn't make sense.This is probably more time than I would ordinarily want to spend in James Ellroy's company. I love L.A. Confidential, and I will certainly read more of his fiction, but the whole but-the-author-doesn't-really-think-like-his-characters defense kind of breaks down once you get to know the author. Or does it? The best thing about My Dark Places is that you get to know Ellroy intimately (intimately), but you still don't know what he actually thinks. Or maybe you do, but it would require some serious sifting and analysis. He's spewed it out at one point or another. The man's an actor and a showboat and a liar, and he tells you all that right upfront, alongside the queasy details of his past and the fact that his father was apparently massively well-endowed (but I guess he could have mentioned that another five or six thousand times). ...dead white women were some kind of drawI'm getting my unease with Ellroy out of the way because I think this book is actually pretty great. It's a raw and disturbing look at an already raw and disturbing event in his life. The beauty of Ellroy's particular nonfiction approach is that he never lets you forget that this is his take on events, even when he's presenting one of the more Just The Facts, Ma'am sections: on the level of language, the story is so him. Short sentences. No graphic details spared. Every slur on the planet used. Truth bombs dropped. Noir atmosphere created. He even acknowledges that his fame rests on violence against women, and the people who want to read about it. That's gross, but I read Ellroy, and so do a lot of other people, so where does that leave us?She came to me in a book. An innocent gift burned my world down.It's not like there's a market to be cornered--crime writers who are crime writers because their mothers were murdered and they got obsessed with the Black Dahlia and all LA crime as a result--but if there were, Ellroy would have cornered it with this. He shows pretty compellingly how his mother's death shaped him into the person he is and, even more compellingly, into the writer he is. None of this comes across as forced or exploited. It made perfect sense to me that as a child Ellroy would make a subconscious attempt to connect with his mother through true crime books. It made even more sense that these obsessions would haunt him through his fraught and dangerous teens and twenties (when he also started reading Ross Macdonald, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett) until they finally resolved themselves into something workable. All writers might not recognize their own method in Ellroy's sex-heavy fantasies, but I suspect most would relate to that moment of clarity he experiences, upon realizing that one such fantasy is too big to be anything but a novel. This wasn't his physical/medical moment of salvation, but, perhaps, in the words of Frank Sinatra, "you can't have one without the other."[Detective] Stoner learned that men killed women because the world ignored and condoned it.Without going into too much detail--because I do recommend this book if you think you can handle it--I will say that the moment this book started to actually add up to something was when Ellroy and Stoner stopped investigating Jean Ellroy's death and started investigating her life. That was when the crime writer got out of his depth, and that was what led to some of his most humane writing yet.My fear always peaked and diminished. I never quite scared myself all the way back to that night.

  • Bernard Rodriguez
    2019-04-02 13:47

    Part true crime murder mystery, part creep-o confessional; Ellroy's romansbilding is a tale of multiple shames, and indignities. The guilt of not doing his mother's death justice by loving her in life, and the shame of dragging her murder into the public eye for personal exploitation. Meeting critics head on and confronting them with brutal honesty about his motivations, Ellroy's candidness severs through any judgements of the man you can make today. Scumbag first class? Sure. Grave robber? Maybe, but Ellroy has thought of these criticisms long before setting pen to paper and he's not going to be stopped by judgements. As a writer and as the son of a murdered mother he craves the truth. Filled with tales of specifics: names, times and places the book careens off the page with love, loss, self-directed anger and shame, but is devoid of cries for redemption or a call for pity. Ellroy's prose is tight, and often times alarmingly violent in it's honesty. Having achieved respect and success as a writer of dense, plot heavy novels and air-tight prose, Ellroy digs deep into gutters of his early life and bring back fragments of a broken childhoood. Unrelenting in its savage personal truths, Ellroy achieves what our memoirists fail to do: admit to acts of failure, selfishness, and general scumbaggery, and never apologize for the life he's led.

  • Jonathan Anderson
    2019-03-28 12:58

    I've been having debates with friends lately about how much of what we know about James Ellroy is an image and how much is the actual person showing through. After reading My Dark Places, I THINK I have the answers I've been arguing in search of, but who's to say for sure?Taken at face value, this book seems to prove that Ellroy is (well, was, might still be, this is where the doubt is coming in) exactly the damaged goods his books seem to indicate, but for the most heartbreaking reasons. It also, in terms of Bill Stoner, proves that James is far from alone, and that some of Ellroy's worst characteristics makes for the kind of people that we want on police forces. The kind that won't give up, the kind that will perhaps give too much of themselves to serve us. This book is a fascinating study of obsession, loss, and how to cope. It's also the most human thing James Ellroy has ever done.

  • Kristi Lamont
    2019-04-23 14:12

    I cannot rate this book. I hated it. But also hated that I couldn't quit reading it. I hated the writing style, I hated the content, I hated the whole Los Angeles as a character aspect of it, I hated that James Ellroy not only went to his "dark places" but dragged me there with him. (Some things? Some things just aren't meant to be shared.) So disturbing I had to actually stop in the middle of reading it and ingest some chick-lit cotton candy silliness in order to give myself a break from the bleak tawdriness of it all. But so, so very powerful and very well-crafted. So, yeah. It's a 1, and it's a 5. Thus my extremely out-of-character posting of a review without a rating. If you are on the fence about whether to read this book, my advice is: Don't. Read this instead:

  • Rex Fuller
    2019-03-28 08:56

    The title is an understatement. Addiction. Alcoholism. Jail (multiple, totaling a year). Homelessness. Starvation. Incest fantasy. And that's not all. Less than half way through there is no doubt in your mind where Ellroy's novels of blackest corruption, death, and failure come from. His mother was murdered and dumped when he was ten. The first half of the book tells what happened to him afterward. The second tells about his investigation of her murder. It was never solved. Not by the police and not by him. If you try this, be ready.

  • Erwin Maack
    2019-04-22 14:48

    A busca do autoconhecimento no percurso feito para encontrar sua mãe. Mãe assassinada quando o autor contava com seis anos. Como as duas vidas acabam por se completar neste processo. Uma história contada em ritmo frenético e obsessivo. Passa por centenas de pessoas suspeitas, de nomes imaginados, forçados, e pesquisados incansavelmente. O palco é Los Angeles, o crime crescente, e os buracos da memória que teimam permanecer apesar das tentativas de reconstrução. Ele parece sugerir o melhor roteiro para a busca interior. Tenhamos ou não passado pelos mesmos problemas.

  • Giorgos
    2019-04-02 08:58

    Βιβλίο χρονικό, βιβλίο εξομολόγηση, βιβλίο διαδρομή του συγγραφέα από την εφηβεία, που σημαδεύτηκε από ένα δραματικό γεγονός, ως στην ωρίμασή του ως άντρας. Βιβλίο ψυχρή αφήγηση με κοφτό, κυνικό και άμεσο λόγο, ειλικρινές στην περιγραφή των σκοτεινών πλευρών της προσωπικότητας του συγγραφέα αλλά και των γονιών του.''Ο θάνατός σου καθόρισε τη ζωή μου. Θέλω να βρω την αγάπη που δεν είχαμε ποτέ και να την εξηγήσω για χάρη σου''.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-05 13:54

    My Dark Places gets a little tedious by the end, both the writing style and the wheel spinning in regard to Ellroy's mother's case. I wish that more had come from the Jean Ellroy re-investigation, but it's interesting to see all of the other cases profiled and their outcomes (if they managed to catch the perpetrators). There's also a good history of the San Gabriel Valley at the time.

  • John
    2019-04-15 07:54

    My Dark Places is a memoir as only James Ellroy can write one.The book comprises three sections—the first is a third-person narrative of his mother’s murder in 1958 and the criminal investigation that failed to solve the crime. For the second part, Mr. Ellroy switches to a first-person POV and tells us the story of his troubled youth and young adulthood. The third, concluding section maintains the first-person perspective and recounts how Mr. Ellroy teamed up with a retired homicide detective to reopen his mother’s murder case 30+ years later and search for better answers.Each section on its own is compelling. Taken together—they don’t quite fit. As a whole, this book feels discordant, as though the author hasn’t entirely figured out what he wants to do with these threads.This sense of disconnection is entirely appropriate. His mother’s murder determined the course of his life, in ways large and small, and he spent much of his life running from the truth of that fact. This is the story of his quest to finally figure out what her murder means, to define the shape and echoes of that event, to determine how that truth fits.I admire that Mr. Ellroy has the courage to publish a book without fully knowing the answer.Stylistically, this book has some failings. In the final part of the work, he devotes a great deal of time to an account of a different murder that’s only tangentially related to his mother’s. It’s frustrating. It scatters focus.Mr. Ellroy’s distinctive writing style works exceptionally well when he describes murder scenes and investigations. When he writes about his truant childhood and his drug-addled young adulthood as a petty criminal, his style becomes reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson—either Mr. Ellroy is admirably self-aware and brutally honest, or he equals Mr. Thompson’s talent for sheer self-aggrandizement. Or both.He never finds a fully effective voice for the first-person parts of the story, particularly when it comes to reopening the investigation of his mother’s murder. The patented Ellroy writing style, which gives his fiction its unique character, comes off as gimmicky and false when applied to such a personal story.Mr. Ellroy makes no bones of the fact that the antiheroes of his fiction are transposed versions of himself. In this memoir, he writes himself as one of his antiheroes—and it doesn’t ring true. The tough and jaded persona of Mr. Ellroy-as-antihero admits too little vulnerability, it dehumanizes him in those moments when the reader needs most to relate to him on an essentially human level.Mr. Ellroy’s fictional work is built on grand narrative principles—he has strong convictions regarding the inner workings of the criminal psyche, of how the darkest parts of our world work. These convictions lend his fiction tremendous resonance and power, it’s what allows him to dredge in the muck of the underbelly of mankind and transmogrify it into something universal and sublime.Applied to the tale of his own life, these convictions border on facile—pat answers to the complexity and ambiguity of real human relationships. Insights meant to be profound and illuminating come off as rather pathetic and obvious cookie-cutter amateur psychology. Grand principle becomes oversimplification, and it comes off as an essential inability to face the hard and complicated truth of the real world.He works so hard to make everything about his life the sublimated aftereffects of his mother, it leaves no room for subtlety or nuance. This is not to say that his conclusions aren't valid, but he beats at the theme with a sledgehammer, rather than chipping away at it like a sculptor.In a memoir such as this, his typical grand narrative principles constrict. They force the story to fit his preconceived ideas, rather than allowing it be fully personal. These conceits substantially blunt what should be a more deeply moving tale.In the end, this is an interesting memoir specifically for the fact that no one but Mr. Ellroy could write one quite like it. As an insight into his mind and his obsessions, this work clearly holds interest for Ellroy fans. It’s a fascinating tale, all told, and My Dark Places is worth the read. But it tries too hard to be an Ellroy novel when it should be a more intimate and honest story.This isn't an Ellroy masterpiece.