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My Dark Places
 
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My Dark Places [Format Kindle]

James Ellroy
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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James Ellroy's trademark is his language: it is sometimes caustically funny and always brazen. When he's hitting on all cylinders, as he is in My Dark Places, his style makes punchy rhythms out of short sentences using lingo such as "scoot" (dollar), "trim" (sex), and "brace" (to interrogate). But the premise for My Dark Places is what makes it especially compelling: Ellroy goes back to his own childhood to investigate the central mystery behind his obsession with violence against women--the death of his mother when he was 10 years old. It's hard to imagine a more psychologically treacherous, more self-exposing way in which to write about true crime. The New York Times calls it a "strenuously involving book.... Early on, Mr. Ellroy makes a promise to his dead mother that seems maudlin at first: 'I want to give you breath.' But he's done just that and--on occasion--taken ours away."

Extrait

My father put me in a cab at the El Monte depot. He paid the driver and told him to drop me at Bryant and Maple.

I didn't want to go back. I didn't want to leave my father. I wanted to blow off El Monte forever.

It was hot--maybe ten degrees more than L.A. The driver took Tyler north to Bryant and cut east. He turned on Maple and stopped the cab.

I saw police cars and official-type sedans parked at the curb. I saw uniformed men and men in suits standing in my front yard.

I knew she was dead. This is not a revised memory or a retrospective hunch. I knew it in the moment--at age ten--on Sunday, June 22nd, 1958.

I walked into the yard. Somebody said, "There's the boy." I saw Mr. and Mrs. Krycki standing by their back door.

A man took me aside and kneeled down to my level. He said, "Son, your mother's been killed."

I knew he meant "murdered." I probably trembled or shuddered or weaved a little bit.

The man asked me where my father was. I told him he was back at the bus station. A half-dozen men crowded around me. They leaned on their knees and checked me out up-close.

They saw one lucky kid.

A cop split for the bus station. A man with a camera walked me back to Mr. Krycki's toolshed.

He put an awl in my hand and posed me at a workbench. I held on to a small block of wood and pretended to saw at it. I faced the camera-- and did not blink or smile or cry or betray my internal equilibrium.

The photographer stood in a doorway. The cops stood behind him. I had a rapt audience.

The photographer shot some film and urged me to improvise. I hunched over the wood and sawed at it with a half-smile/ half-grimace. The cops laughed. I laughed. Flashbulbs popped.


From the Hardcover edition.

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 sad and frightening 4 avril 2014
Format:Format Kindle
even all the more sad and frightening since the stories are true. I read this about eight years ago but still remember a particular terrible and dreadful case involving a baby...
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  104 commentaires
48 internautes sur 51 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A son searches for the truth about his mother's death 17 février 2006
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Readers often wonder what makes their favorite writers tick--we want to point to a significant moment in their lives, a single event which made them become writers. When asked this question, most authors tend to shrug it off, saying that they were always compelled to write. James Ellroy would answer the question differently, because he knows the defining event of his personal life and writing career. It happened in 1958, when he was ten: his mother, Jean, was found murdered, a nylon stocking and a cotton cord lashed around her neck. Her corpse was found in an ivy patch near a high school, looking, as Ellroy himself describes it, "like a classic late night body dump." Despite a thorough investigation, her murderer was never found.

When his mother died, Ellroy, the innocent victim of his parent's acrimonious divorce, was already well on the way to perfecting his "Crazy Man Act". Always somewhat of a misfit, Ellroy began to revel in his strangeness under his father's care. After his father's death seven years later, Ellroy spent the next thirteen years in a steep downward spiral, engaging in petty crime, serving jail time, and abusing drugs and alcohol. His only solace during this time were the wild fantasies he concocted in his head, and the crime novels which fueled those fantasies.

During those decades, Ellroy struggled with the memory of "the redhead", as he often refers to his mother. Outwardly professing to hate her, he was confused by his true feelings. These repressed emotions produced a life long obsession with crime and crime fiction, which eventually surfaced in the recurring themes present in many of his novels. "Her death corrupted my imagination and gave me exploitable gifts." His writing, which allowed him to cope with his inner demons, eventually provided a means of reconciling with his mother--he would investigate her death, and attempt to find some answers to what had become the defining mystery of his own life.

In 1994, Ellroy, at the urging of his future wife, decided to try to reopen his mother's police file. With the help of Bill Stoner, a 32 year veteran of the L. A. County Sheriff's Department, Ellroy conducted his own investigation of his mother's death, which ultimately failed to uncover any significant new leads. Although marked by some startling revelations, the investigation was hampered by the passage of time and the dimming memories of the parties involved. The investigation was not a total failure, however, because in trying to find the killer, Ellroy found his mother instead. Now, instead of a fantasy construct, Ellroy has a better idea of who the real Jean Ellroy was.

Ellroy's failure to discover his mother's killer might bother some readers, but shouldn't. My Dark Places is, in the final analysis, Ellroy's attempt to reach out to his mother nearly forty years after her death, and as such, is eminently successful. By writing this memoir, Ellroy resurrects "the redhead" for a brief moment, just long enough to come to appreciate her as a person. Doing so, it seems that he finally comes to terms with her death.
28 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 True crime? Family memoir? An expose on cold cases and the detectives who work them? Character study? 30 janvier 2006
Par Jessica Lux - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Ellroy is an internationally best-selling crime author (L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, etc.). He also grew out of true crime--his mother Jean Ellroy was assaulted, murdered, and had her body dumped in a ditch in 1958, when James was 10 years old. James's father poisoned him against his mother, portraying her as a drunken whore. The boy grew up a troublemaker and serious addict, stealing, burglarizing, lying, using, and living on the streets. Somehow (not covered in this book, to my disappointment), he got his life together, became a star as a crime novelist, and then decided to re-open the 30-year-old unsolved murder of his mother.

Ellroy himself admits that he had dubious motives for re-visiting his mother's murder case--he thought writing an article for GQ about his fascinating past would generate some excellent publicity for his upcoming novel. To his own surprise, Ellroy became engrossed in the dead-end case. He was mystified as the concept of his mother as anything other than a "drunken whore." Ellroy ends up partnering with seasoned homicide detective Bill Toner to re-open then case, investigate 30-year-old leads, trace old witnesses, and garner publicity for potential witnesses to come forward. During the course of the new investigation, Ellroy learns more than he planned about his mother's past, her motivations, and her heritage...which is his own heritage.

The memoir is structured into four parts--(1) a third person, chillingly detailed account of the 1958 murder and ensuing investigation, (2) a first-person account of Ellroy's boyhood, loss of his mother, and descent into criminality and vagrancy, (3) a third-person telling of the career of Bill Stoner and his successes and frustrations in homicide investigations, and, finally, (4) the story of the Ellroy/Stoner partnership in re-opening the murder investigation. Through and through, the book reveals the tedium of chasing down tenuous leads, dealing with crazy tips, canvassing for tiny leads, and the overwhelming dedicated labor of crime detectives. Reading about all the dead leads can exhaust the reader, so one can only imagine how the detectives felt.

Due to the four-part structure, those coming for "true crime" will most like the first and third parts, while anyone who is interested in Ellroy as a person will enjoy the second part, but may well be frustrated that many years of his life immediately before his success as an author are omitted. The fourth part, about the re-opened investigation, is frustrating for both the participants and the reader, and lacks nice, neat Hollywood-style plot developments. But it is real life!
28 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 In case you ever wondered how he got that way 2 décembre 1999
Par Doug Vaughn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
James Ellroy's unique voice in contemporary crime fiction springs from events in his own life which are the basis for My Dark Places. This book reveals a tortured early life overshadowed by the murder of Ellroy's mother and subsequent contact with police along with an adolescent descent into petty crime and drug use. That the person portrayed in these pages manages to sublimate his demons and channel them into some of the best noir fiction ever written, is a remarkable human achievement. Those who love Ellroy's books should read this memoir for the insight into the man it provides and, also, for the pleasure of reading a real life version of what could easily be a typical Ellroy subplot to an L.A. mystery.
Really interesting stuff. Read this and you will know why Ellroy seems stuck in L.A. in another age - and why he can make it come to life with such power.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brutal honesty, complicated psychology and flawed genius. 3 octobre 1999
Par mickdl@dynamite.com.au - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Both autobiography and biography, Ellroy narrates the account of his search for the truth behind his mother's murder in four parts. He begins with a cold journalistic account of the initial investigation that does not quite come off. In part two, he details a protracted adolescence that begins at age 9 when his mother is murdered and does not end until he is 30, in which his existence deteriorates into what call only be called depravity. The third part of the book delves into the life and career of real-life cop Bill Stoner and the beginning of the reinvestigation into the murder with Ellroy. The final part details his mother's life up until her murder, the outcome of the reinvestigation, the last murder case in the career of Stoner, and the trial of O.J. Simpson. This book is a must read for many reasons, but chiefly for its brutal honesty. Firstly, it is an unadulterated autobiographical account of the writer's complicated psychology and his descent into sexual perversion, drug addiction, alcoholism, and petty criminality. Rarely do we admit these to our close family and friends let alone an international audience and certainly not with the perceptiveness and brilliant narrative that Ellroy is capable of. Secondly, nobody knows the mind of cops like Ellroy. His are like no others described in fiction or fact, they are flawed geniuses that demand condemnation and sympathy simultaneously.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good. 27 juin 2005
Par David Blanton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
"My Dark Places" is about the author's futile search for his mother's killer. It is also a fascinating memoir of one of today's most successful crime writers. Although there is an obvious link between these two themes - a link that Ellroy indulges a very large chunk of his book to - the two parts fail to form a complete marriage. For my money the memoir elements of "Places" are much more compelling and readable. The second half of the book, which documents his work with a retired homicide detective to find the killer, is, well, a little dull. I found myself wishing he would dip back into the well of his youth, when his life was herky-jerky and wild. The investigation into his mother's death is spiked with dead-ends and ponderous soul-searching. And it is dreadfully repetitive at times.
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