Ugly America

Where Ellroy excels, though, is in the sheer stamina and Mailerlike nerve of his hypermasculine vision. Tedrow's oedipal anger with his father, who sent him on the pimp-killing job that ends up costing Junior's wife her life, mirrors Bondurant's fury when he learns that the guns the Vietnam heroin operation are supposedly buying aren't going to Cuba at all, which in turn mirrors the mob's revenge when the elder Kennedy brother doesn't call off the younger after winning an election they helped fix. It's impossible to imagine any other novelist generating so many pages focusing on so many levels of anger and betrayal. And Ellroy promises at least one more installment in this epic dystopic version of the American half-century. How will it end? Here's a hint:

Underworld concludes with a single word: "Peace."

James Ellroy: propelled by sheer stamina and a hypermasculine vision
photo: Marion Ettlinger
James Ellroy: propelled by sheer stamina and a hypermasculine vision

And The Cold Six Thousand? "His father screamed. Blood sprayed the panes."

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