Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - the Hillicker Curse

Magazine article The Spectator

BOOKENDS - the Hillicker Curse

Article excerpt

By now, the crucial details of James Ellroy's life, particularly the unsolved murder of his mother when he was ten years old, may be known better than his books. He emphasised the connection himself when Th e B la ck Dah l ia , based on a more famous unsolved murder, became a bestseller, constructing a 'demon dog' persona to promote the novels which followed. Finally, in his memoir, My Da rk Pla ce s, Ellroy investigated his mother's death, and seemingly offered her a benediction, but as he said 'closure is a preposterous concept'.

He had rejected his mother before she met her end, preferring his slick but shallow father's indulgence. This youthful cruelty is the root of the Hilliker (his mother's maiden name) Curse. Through two marriages and countless fantasies, he now traces an intense adolescent romanticism, his need to protect women. …

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