The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women
From “one of the great American writers of our time” (Los Angeles Times Book Review): a raw, explicit memoir as high-intensity and riveting as any of his novels.
The year was 1958. James Ellroy was ten years old. His mother, Jean Hilliker, had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband. She gave her son a choice: live with his father or her. He chose his father, and Jean—“half gassed”—attacked him. He wished her dead. Three months later, she was murdered.
Ellroy writes, “I owe her for every true thing that I am. I must remove the malediction I have placed on her and on myself,” and in The Hilliker Curse, he narrates his quest for “atonement in women.” He unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, a nervous breakdown and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her. It is a layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest. And all of it is reported with gut-wrenching and heart-rending candor.
A brilliant and soul-baring revelation of self—and unlike any memoir you have ever read.
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