November 20, 2010


The NS Interview: James Ellroy, author (Jonathan Derbyshire, 18 November 2010, New Statesman)

You have been criticised for your portrayal of the left in your work. Is that fair?

I don't know anything about the left. I write from a right-wing perspective. I'm an authoritarian, a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant American born mid-century. Any woman who goes with me has to get used to my Tory views and most of them find them vexing. Life's funny that way.

Are you a Tory in the classical sense?

Yes. I'm a moralist. A religious person.

But one doesn't have to be a Tory, or religious, to be a moralist.

I think atheists miss the point. I don't grant atheism and agnosticism the same moral quality that I give to people who pursue the religious or spiritual way of life.

So, as an atheist, I can't live a moral life?

If you are still an atheist when you get to my age, you don't know s[**]t. I hope you change.

What has driven your religious commitment?

I have personally felt God in the room with me on numerous occasions. And if you've experienced it, you know. And if you haven't, you don't. I have.

Will I recognise it when I feel it?

I hope you do. And it doesn't have to be as dramatic as it happened to me.

What made it so dramatic?

This is going too far afield and getting too contentious. You're getting on my nerves.

Do you vote?

No. I don't like the question. I don't answer questions pertaining to America today. I don't write about America today. I would never criticise my country or any of its actions within a foreign county.

James Ellroy, the Ancient Mariner of LA Noir: From the earliest days of his literary career, Ellroy was working out how to create a memorable persona, costume it, style it, rehearse it, polish it and sell it (Elaine Showalter, 11/03/10, times Literary Supplement)

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 20, 2010 8:24 AM
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