Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Roger J. Ellory

Roger Ellory is the reason I started a blog. After a year or two procrastinating over what epic crime novel I would write I decided to start a blog and actually do some writing. It has proved too difficult for me to actually get started on anything of substance. It is indeed an attribute of more-learned people than I; I may as well dither and read and only dabble in writing on a blog or two for writing a novel is too difficult. Roger would disagree with me on this, 'becoming a writer is simple,' he would say, 'all you need to do is write.' He told me exactly that, and after some further dithering I thought I would take control; start a blog; unearth the creative flow. At present this 'flow' has been limited, but all I need to do is keep writing; something; anything. Despite the simplicity of Ellory's initial response to my delays, his answer would differ greatly were I to suggest becoming a published writer is too difficult....
Ellory wrote about twenty-five novels before he received interest for his first published work, Candlemoth. Most of those written in long-hand. The man literally spewed words for six years, and although the endless letters of rejection and ignored responses would have inflicted some suffering on the aspiring-novelist, he has clearly crafted his art to the finest details and thus is one of the most evocative and creative writers working.
Since his debut feature Ellory has seven published novels (eight in total), his most recent Saints of New York having only been released this week. I can only really comment on the man as a writer from the works I have read; Candlemoth, Ghostheart, A Quiet Vendetta, A Quiet Belief in Angels, and A Simple Act of Violence. He is the only writer of whose works I have read more than three. Each novel has the most intricate and complex web of subplots and character arcs that it's a miracle they worked so well. You'll find his works under Crime in most bookshops, but Ellory has always insisted he writes Human Drama, possibly dipped in crime rather than soaked in it. I would have to agree. His prose can be so climactic that it's hard to read a chapter without breaking out in a small sweat; each clue leading you further into the lives of condemned convicts, gritty detectives, Jewish gangsters and Cuban hit-men, preparing for the great denouement, which he is so perfect at conveying only LeCarre can rival his ability. His writing demands total immersion in the plot-threads and it's almost impossible not to worry about whether he will tie them off suitably; but thus far he has not failed to deliver some great twists.
I can only implore everyone to read a couple of his works, Candlemoth being the most evocative book I've ever come across, and perhaps Vendetta or Violence, both epic crime tales. Check out his website rjellory.com and enjoy his stories.

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