cover image The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women

James Ellroy, read by the author, Random House Audio, unabridged, six CDs, 7.5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-3078-7585-3

Ellroy’s narration of his memoir of how his mother’s brutal rape and murder molded him sexually and psychically is as utterly distinctive as anything as he has done. Full of vim and vigor, this reading is a bit like mad beat poetry, as staccato sentences, wild almost jazz styling (a low-cut dress reveals “boooo-coop back”) take sentences in unfailingly entertaining if unintentionally hilarious directions. It’s dark stuff Ellroy is relating—his early Peeping Tom proclivities, for example—but his odd emphases, the way he trumpets small, unimportant facts as if there were a big reveal (“He sold Buicks! She bought a red and white sedan!”) elicits more laughter than the writer perhaps intended. A Knopf hardcover. (Sept)