I start with the staircase, which is the easiest and most gratifying part of the house to vacuum given its hardwood floors and lack of obstacles Begone powdery dirt and mud clumps I reach the top of the stairs and have a clear line of vision to both the couch in the living room and the closet where I could now stow the vacuum.
I look from Perfidia, perched on the couch, to the vacuum in my hands Perfidia Vacuum Decision.
I continue to vacuum the main floor, starting with the brown area rug that sheds wool as though it is a creature in heat On my hands and knees, I vacuum underneath the bookshelves sucking up the fist sized tumbleweeds composed of the fur of two cats and two long haired dogs I navigate the twenty four chair legs under the dining table I scour the dreaded zone around the litter box for those pesky, piss saturated particles that roll for miles I sweep the pizza crust crumbs off the kitchen counter have I really eaten that much pizza and into the vacuum s ravenous path I am slippery with sweat and have reached a natural stopping point as everything on this floor has been cleared.
I look from Perfidia to the vacuum Perfidia Vacuum Decision.
I drag the vacuum to the base of the next staircase the dreaded, carpeted staircase Each of its sixteen stairs requires multiple passes, each time using a different attachment No bristles Bristles For the edges For the flat surfaces I eventually reach the top My back aches I could wrap up the vacuum s cord and call it quits Perfidia Vacuum Decision.
I vacuum the top floor of the house The bathroom tiles, which have been delicately laced with hair hair so long it could only be mine Under the nightstands Behind the headboard In the dark recesses of the closet Around the piles of books on the office floor I am exhausted My house has not been cleaner in weeks, perhaps months The carpet looks two shades lighter Perfidia Vacuum Decision.
I empty the vacuum s bag for the third time I have nearly filled a trash bag with the detritus I descend the two flights of stairs to the trash can in the garage I return to my new friend and gently lay it on its side before attacking the long fibers stuck in the bristles with scissors Later, I set the vacuum upright and slowly wind the electrical cord around and around and around.
My thoughts return to Perfidia Obscenely huge with its 691 pages Confusing with its large cast of characters and lack of explanation Staccato in its writing Crude and blunt Baffling popularity.
Screw Perfidia I start a load of laundry.
When it comes to crime fiction I cut my teeth, hell, I fractured my fucking jaw on James Ellroy s LA Quartet And as far as I am concerned, many imitate the man s style but this particular king is in no danger of being dethroned in this lifetime Every handful of years or so, when a new backbreaker by Ellroy struts onto the bookstore shelf, I m one of the first suckers clawing my way through the pages I ll go on the record and say that, since Ellroy wrote The Black Dahlia and began his long task of rewriting the last half of 20th century American history as a sleazy pulp novel, he has redefined what a crime novel is capable of Ellroy s L.
A is a world where cops are criminals, politicians are criminals, where everyone is a criminal, and occasionally some of these criminals aren t as terrible of monsters as the rest Neither optimism nor nostalgia are notions Ellroy tries to sell his readers.
Sadly, Perfidia, which is supposed to launch a prequel quartet of novels that will tie together all the strings of his LA Quartet and his Underworld U.
A trilogy into one cohesive work, crumbles under its own ambition, and Ellroy s Ellroy ness as a writer is completely to blame I don t really have the heart to take the scalpel to this book and besides, fellow Ellroy devotee Kemper did a wonderful job at pointing out all the cracks in the Ellroy fa ade in his own review, and in a much thoughtful and creative way than I can imagine His beefs are my beefs with the writing, the plotting and the historical context I will briefly add that several of the characters who serve as this novel s protagonists have played large roles in previous, chronologically later installments, and much of the information that is revealed about them, as well as their actions during these wild days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, don t match up with what has already been written, which goes against Ellroy s whole mission statement of making this series of tentatively eleven books gel together as one, long as life uber novel Also, knowing the fate of every character in the book removes a lot of the tension of wondering who the hell is going to manage to walk away from this book alive For those not in the know, Ellroy is most likely the originator of the literary trope of having one character empty an entire clip of a gun, point blank, into the head of another character.
But why three stars Because it is still an Ellroy It s a big, bold, incredibly violent, wild, densely plotted, rude, nightmarish, sexy, morally reprehensible novel written in a completely idiosyncratic bee bop staccato of simple sentences New readers may find a lot to love in this book Me I m just hoping he works out some of these kinks by next book.
I would think that since James Ellroy is one of my favorite living novelists that I d check every now and then to see if a new book is in the works Nope I think I treat all my favorites as Pynchon s, new books may come out at some point but they will be rare like unicorns so it s not worth poking around to see if you can find one and this would be a sad way to find unicorns because you re guaranteed to probably never find on if you never look But my lack of awareness paid off nicely when after months of putting off looking through any of the Book Expo of America BEA materials I finally succumbed on the night before it started and saw, James Ellory is signing at 3pm at Random House One might think that at this point I d fire up the magic machine that gives information about all kinds of things and look up James Ellory and New Book, or maybe even go to the little search function at the top of this page and type in James Ellroy and see what his new book was Nope Didn t do that either, which wouldn t have been difficult since I was on this magical information giving machine at the time.
Instead I typed Random House Friday, 2pm David Mitchell, 3pm James Ellroy and added to a magical program on the machine that would allow me to see what I typed on the first magical machine on an equally magical pocket sized version of the machine What wondrous times we live in My lack of initiative to find out what exactly I was going to be getting signed by James Ellroy didn t stop me from bothering Karen with questions about what the book could be Do you think it s a long book Do you think it is one of those very nice looking re issues with a Chip Kidd cover but which are ultimately kind of unsatisfying Do you think it s a continuation of the American Trilogy Of course Karen didn t know, and maybe some of these questions I kept to myself but I did wonder about them and again I did nothing to satisfy my curiosity This all lead to a nice surprise First that I d get to have anything signed by James Ellory, who I hadn t even thought might be at BEA and second because it was a major novel I didn t realize this though until a few seconds before he signed a copy of the book and handed it to me though Even when I finally broke down and looked up to see what I d be standing in line to get I still only gave a cursory glance at the description and felt a little disappointed, Japanese Americans, World War 2, Los Angeles I wanted some American History to keep on rolling from where his last novel left off Give the dirt and collusion on Reagan s America, slander the Clintons You don t always get what you want Still reading After a fairly unsatisfying moment of getting to meet James Ellroy, I leafed through the new tome in my hands and thought, wow, this is going to be awesome I saw the book ended with a list of characters and where else they appear in the seven novels that make up the LA and Underworld series of novels Saw that this was the first of a quartet that would be part of the same world but come before the start of The Black Dahlia Saw lots of familiar names Hello, old morally dubious friends And of course this was the first thing I read as soon as I got home from BEA ok this is a lie, I finished the new Hardcase Lawrence Block that I got about two hours before Perfidia, but I had started it while waiting on the Random House lines, so while technically a BEA book it shouldn t count There were so many books that I d picked up in the few days there that I was excited to read, but none of them had any chance of being read before this 700 page novel which Ellroy says is his longest page count novel, I feel like his last couple were longer, but it might have just been the scope and writing style that packed so much into the pages than this one did.
Preambling enough I should talk about the book The title comes from a song, specifically the Glenn Miller version of it You can listen to it while reading the rest of this review, or just imagine that you re part of Dudley Smith s opium induced imagination starts on December 6th, 1941 A Saturday morning with a stake out of a pharmacy that had been held up multiple times in the past month LAPD s only Japanese cop has created a device to take pictures automatically of every license plate that parks in front of the pharmacy He and Ray Pinker sit and watch to see if the device works and it isn t long before the store is held up This is how Ellroy decided to start his saga that would result in all the bad shit that goes down through the seven other books A simple armed robbery Later in the day a Japanese family is found dead in their house Mom, dad, their panty sniffing pervy son, and young daughter Seppuku A note about the coming apocalypse December 6th The next morning, obviously, is Pearl Harbor The story is told from four perspectives, with each chapter switching from one to the other this can get a little confusing it spots because after the first go around you aren t told whose perspective you are seeing, you just have to remember that it goes Hideo Ashida, Kay Lake, William Parker, Dudley Smith This isn t usually difficult but there are a couple of spots when the characters start colluding where it took me a bit to figure out where we were Ashida is the only Japanese cop on the LAPD mentioned above Kay Lake is a young dilettante with dubious morals William Parker is a real life LAPD cop and would be the chief of police in the 1950 s and 60 s And finally Dudley Smith, the menacing villain through much of the original LA Quartet.
This novel follows the last weeks of 1941 as World War 2 is beginning for the United States Japanese Americans in Los Angeles are being rounded up and internment camps are looming as the new must be places to live of February, 1942 As civil rights are being trampled, the case of the Japanese family is turned into a public relations tool Corruption is everywhere and all four of the main characters are colluding for various advantages of life during wartime It s fairly standard Ellroy stuff A few really tough guys holding each other by the balls while pointing a throw down piece at the other one s head and some people who have to collude with these tough guys if they are going to survive But it s in these conspiracies within conspiracies that Ellroy excels, and the scale might be smaller than in American Tabloid where a president ultimately gets killed by these schemes but they are still just as engaging to read The stand out in this novel was Dudley Smith It s been years since I read the LA Quartet, so some of my memories are hazy, but what I remember in those was Dudley Smith as a looming menace An untouchable, corrupt and brutal cop who let nothing get in his way Here we see the rise of Dudley Smith, he s already the exemplar of the brutal Irish cop, but there is also the humane side of him exposed He comes across like Pete Bondurant would become as his story unfolded in The Cold Six Thousand I m probably going to remember this book as the Ballad of Dudley Smith spoiler for those who have read Black Dahlia view spoiler Was he the father of Elizabeth Short in the original novel I don t remember him being so, I ll have to go back and read that one when I get the time hide spoiler awesome just awesome one of the best portraits of obsession in all of fiction.
one of those books that just tractor beams the reader, grinds her up, and shits her out blast me forth from your rectum, mr ellroy gobble me whole and crap me out do it do it do it it s awe inspiring what ellroy does here grabs tons of characters from his First LA Quartet Perfidia is book one of the Second LA Quartet and Underworld USA Trilogy and throws em into his most densely plotted and highly charged environment yet doesn t get better so why not 5 stars well, ellroy s plotting is so dense, brutal, and bombastic that one simply feels pummeled it s exhilerating, but a kind of diminishing returns syndrome sets in whereby the reader simply cannot maintain the level of excitement and focus that ellroy demands it s a conunudrum the benzedrine and blood fueled mania creates an effect that a few nice n easy moments would distrupt however, the reader just cannot maintain for 700 pgs of this stuff w o some nice n easy.
THANK YOU KAREN BRISSETTE Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.
A Confidential, White Jazz American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, Blood s A Rover I have so few auto buy authors these days I used to have many, but one by one I drop them when the stories turn predictable and the writing stale One actually died, but anywayEllroy is heavy reading, and his dirty staccato style is what makes the scenery come alive If you ve glommed the rest of his catalog you know several players here Perfidia is a prequel of sorts to his other series It begins just before the attack on Pearl Harbor with the murder of a Japanese family in LA Throughout the investigation the story peels away layers to reveal corruption within the police force, sympathies for opposing forces, and a lot of bad language Ellroy doesn t write rainbows and unicorns.
The only problem I have with Ellroy s books is I have to go back and read the others again to jar my memory One day I ll sit and have a good binge As much as I love books, I don t explode into rainbows often when I hear of a pending release, but but but new James Ellroy.
Big, bold and uncompromising, if you haven t read Ellroy before this probably isn t a good place to start His house style , unique, eclectic, perhaps even eccentric, full of police and other slang which he never deigns to explain, is on full display here and we just have to plunge ourselves into his corrupt and tainted world and find our way as best we can Ellroy is an uncompromising writer we either accept his world on his terms or we get out All the same, there are places where the clipped, laconic tone starts to feel a bit like a parody of itself, something I didn t feel in the earlier books.
Set in 1941 around the time of Pearl Harbour a Japanese family is found dead, and with a Japanese investigator on the case while his compatriots are being interned, the racial politics of the book are fraught Characters from the earlier books later in terms of chronology abound and some of the opaque elements of The Black Dahlia and L.
A Confidential are explained the troubling sexless relationship between Kay Lake and Lee Blanchard while we get a shocking revelation about Elizabeth Short the Dahlia and spend quite a lot of time within the mind of Dudley Smith as well as hearing some of the events that have made him who he is I was quite unsure about the latter with its rather pat bad childhood psychopathic adult easy connection.
Don t come to this expecting a linear, defined story Ellory s characters are defined by slippery dialogue and contested actions, rather than by what a minimal narrative expository voice might say about them, and it helps if you ve met them before in the earlier books set in the 1950s So this is the kind of book that I sometimes felt lost in but even when I had no idea what was happening, it remains unputdownable A dense, stubborn book which refuses to accommodate itself to a reader s convenience Ellroy does my head in but in a good way
A Quartet and The Underworld USA Trilogy and I will personally be disappointed if there aren t references to his much less well regarded Lloyd Hopkins trilogy This is a prequel, so younger versions of characters from both those series appear here And as a prequel it comes with the normal prequel problems if we ve read the original quartet a certain amount of jeopardy and danger is removed as we know which of these characters have to survive further, why don t the characters in the later set, but earlier written, novels mention anything about the events of this book That s the problem of writing a prequel in a shared universe, so much is already set in concrete.
But incredibly we have than just the usual as Ellroy has given himself an elephant of a continuity problem by early on making clear that Elizabeth Short, notable victim in the original LA Quartet, is the daughter of Dudley Smith, the symbol of all roguish policemen in the same books Surely there s no indication of that anywhere in the original quartet, and it s such a jarring link that one can only wonder why Ellroy thought it was a good idea It s like the joke in the last Austin Powers film that Austin and Dr Evil are brothers, but that joke done for real by Ian Fleming for James Bond and Blofeld in some lost novel after You Only Live Twice Maybe it s a decision that will work better later on in this new quartet, but right now it feels like an author having a character he likes and just shoe horning her in any way he can.
It s December 1941, on the eve of, and right after, Pearl Harbour Two LA cops, Dudley Smith and William Parker, as well as police chemist, Hideo Ashida, find themselves investigating the brutal murder of a Japanese family and this being Ellroy dealing with the kind of personal demons which would fill an entire sub strata of hell.
The fact that this is the second LA Quartet suggests immediately that it s closely related to The Black Dahlia , LA Confidential , The Big Nowhere and White Jazz than the other books That s positive as it makes for a experience less hysterical and focused than those later novels It s not as good a novel though as those in the original LA Quartet, as it s still a bit hysterical and can probably be focused, but it s aiming for the same targets and hits a lot of the time If you like those books, you ll buy into this.
Just a note though on the language Ellroy will argue that the reason there is so much racism and questionable social attitudes in his work is that this is how his characters would have spoken, what they would have believed I can accept that But then he s clearly having so much fun with the racism and with the various anti homosexual anti women anti anyone who isn t a red blooded, white, American male barbs, insults and slurs, that it mitigates his argument somewhat Can he really say that he s just representing his character s belief system when he s clearly in love with the rhythm and pace he gets from using racial epithets in every other sentence I can see why some people wouldn t get too far into this book or into most other works by Ellroy, for that matter and I also know why people like me who are well disposed to this type of fiction and to this author in particular can enjoy it whilst still being made to feel a tad uncomfortable.
DNF at 45 % A couple of years ago I studied theology and some books I read was good and some books were bloody awful and almost impossible to get through But one had to But this one I don t have to finish so now I m throwing in the towel, saying adi s amigoHasta la vista baby Ps I will read Black Dahlia someday, hopefully, that book will be better Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review Dicembre Il Giappone Ha Bombardato Pearl Harbor Gli Stati Uniti Sono A Un Passo Dalla Guerra E A Los Angeles Scatta Un Ondata Di Arresti I Cittadini Nipponici Sospettabili Di Alto Tradimento Finiscono Dietro Le Sbarre La Bandiera Dell Odio Razziale Sventola Alta, Perci Nessuno Dovrebbe Preoccuparsi Quando I Quattro Membri Di Una Famiglia Giapponese Vengono Trovati Morti Dentro Casa, Tanto Pi Che Potrebbe Trattarsi Di Un Suicidio Rituale Le Indagini, Per , Partono Ugualmente Proprio Perch Ci Si Prepara A Distruggere E Depredare Una Delle Comunit Straniere Pi Ricche E Integrate Della California, Necessario Mostrarsi Irreprensibili Ellroy Racconta Con Lucida Ferocia Ventitre Giorni Tra I Pi Drammatici Della Storia Americana, Chiamando In Scena Una Folla Di Personaggi Che I Suoi Lettori Hanno Gi Imparato Ad Amare O A Odiare Senza Mezze Misure Dal Sergente Dudley Smith All Infiltrata Kay Lake Dagli Sbirri Lee Blanchard E Buzz Meeks Al Gangster Ebreo Mickey Cohen Tutti Di Qualche Anno Pi Giovani Rispetto Ai Tempi Di Dalia Nera E LA Confidential, Ma Gi Immersi Fino Al Collo In Quell Intrico Di Verit E Menzogna, Idealismo E Violenza Dentro Il Quale Batte Il Cuore Nero Dell America Perfidia , 6 1941 29 , 1941 ,.