The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy
My Pursuit of Women

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Synopsis

The legendary crime writer gives us a raw, brutally candid memoir—as high intensity and as riveting as any of his novels—about his obsessive search for “atonement in women.”

The year was 1958. Jean Hilliker had divorced her fast-buck hustler husband and resurrected her maiden name. Her son, James, was ten years old. He hated and lusted after his mother and “summoned her dead.” She was murdered three months later.

The Hilliker Curse
is a predator’s confession, a treatise on guilt and on the power of malediction, and above all, a cri de cœur. James Ellroy unsparingly describes his shattered childhood, his delinquent teens, his writing life, his love affairs and marriages, his nervous breakdown, and the beginning of a relationship with an extraordinary woman who may just be the long-sought Her.

A layered narrative of time and place, emotion and insight, sexuality and spiritual quest, The Hilliker Curse is a brilliant, soul-baring revelation of self. It is unlike any memoir you have ever read.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About James Ellroy

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James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels-The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz-were international best sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine's Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.
 
Published September 7, 2010 by Vintage. 226 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Hilliker Curse

Kirkus Reviews

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Noted crime writer Ellroy (Blood’s a Rover, 2009, etc.) presents a sharp-tongued, acidic memoir of his life and loves.

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The New York Times

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In James Ellroy’s new memoir, he recalls how his mother’s murder shaped his life with women.

Sep 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Guardian

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There's a telling scene in this second volume of memoir from the self-proclaimed "foul owl with the death growl", when James Ellroy welcomes fans at a Sacramento bookstore to "the six thousandth public performance of my dead-mother act".

Oct 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Guardian

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For a man who claims to love and want women – "I ached for the kinship of the body… I wanted every touch, taste and breath I could have" – this is a perplexingly sexless book.

Sep 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Guardian

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There's a telling scene in this second volume of memoir from the self-proclaimed "foul owl with the death growl", when James Ellroy welcomes fans at a Sacramento bookstore to "the six thousandth public performance of my dead-mother act".

Oct 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Wall Street Journal

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Crime writer James Ellroy's most compelling mystery story has always been his own.

Sep 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

New York Journal of Books

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The reader may want to scream at Ellroy to find a truly good therapist.But Ellroy has said that his writing aims for “universal meaning.”Does this disturbing, sometimes perverse story offer universal meaning?Yes, definitely.What is that universal meaning?That’s for the individual reader to ponder...

Sep 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

AV Club

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In his second memoir, the crime writer behind the Underworld U.S.A. trilogy explores how his mother’s murder shaped his active love life.

Sep 09 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

AV Club

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trilogy, a character named Donald Crutchfield offers a simple explanation for a life of peeping into windows, and later turning private investigator and covert operative: “To make women love me.” Crutchfield’s name comes from a real-life detective, but his obsessions line up with Ellroy’s, and th...

Sep 09 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Entertainment Weekly

Certainly there is much in The Hilliker Curse to trouble any prospective father-in-law of Ellroy's as he describes desiring his own mother ''in unspeakable ways,'' or recalls how his first sexual partner called him ''a perv, a bum lay and a fascist.'' The author does decline to dish on his long-t...

Sep 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Los Angeles Times

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Where the consciously constructed James Ellroy and the real James Ellroy intersect is a location he sometimes finds hard to identify.

Sep 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Washington Post

In his memoir, "The Hilliker Curse," Ellroy details his lifelong obsession with women -- from his mother (whose maiden name was Hilliker), murdered when the author was 10 years old, to his various flings, flames and strolls down the aisle.

Oct 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Telegraph

The Hilliker Curse by James Ellroy In The Hilliker Curse, Ellroy interweaves fictional women and the real women in his life.

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Oregon Live

Anyone who suspected James Ellroy went off the deep end after "The Cold Six Thousand" was published in 2001 had lots of anecdotal evidence: He cut his tour for that novel short because of insomnia and exhaustion.

Sep 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Sydney Morning Herald

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Oct 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

The Sydney Morning Herald

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Oct 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Scotsman.com

IN THE spring of 1958, ten-year-old James Ellroy wished the mother he lusted after, and resented, dead.

Sep 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

London Review of Books

When James Ellroy’s latest cod-cosmic rehash of his troubled – and troubling – life arrived on my doorstep I assumed the business of reacquainting myself with the terrain shouldn’t be that difficult.

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Bookmarks Magazine

James Ellroy is one of America's most successful crime fiction writers--L.A.

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Chicago Sun Times

Crime novelist James Ellroy wants more.

Oct 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Shelf Awareness

I am an adult book buyer, but our children's buyer convinced me to read the three Suzanne Collins books.

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Metro

Hard-boiled crime writer par excellence James Ellroy has ventured into memoir territory before, with 1996’s My Dark Places, an account of how, after a life sent into a tailspin by his mother’s murder, he tried to find her killer.

Sep 14 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursui...

Reader Rating for The Hilliker Curse
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