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The Sunday Conversation: Crime novelist James Ellroy
The Sunday Conversation: Crime novelist James Ellroy

Los Angeles-born and -based crime novelist James Ellroy, 62, dissects his lifelong obsession with romantic love leading to his relationship with writer Erika Schickel in "The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women." Ellroy's new memoir hits bookstores on Tuesday.What is the Hilliker curse?On the occasion of my 10th birthday in March of 1958, my mother, Jean Hilliker, a 43-year-old alcoholic registered nurse, offered me the opportunity to choose who I wanted to live with — her or my more permissive father. I said my dad. She hit me. I fell off the couch, banged my head on a glass coffee table, recalled the book that I had read in Christmas 1957, a library book about witchcraft and curses...

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