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JAMES ELLROY
L’underworld USA, Star Wars dans le caniveau

« Dessinons l’Amérique vu de dessous, de derrière, du bureau ovale. Racontons les putes, les PD, l’héroïne, les Parrains, Howard Huges, ceux qui tirent les ficelles, Sonny List

« Dessinons l'Amérique vu de dessous, de derrière, du bureau ovale. Racontons les putes, les PD, l'héroïne, les Parrains, Howard Huges, ceux qui tirent les ficelles, Sonny List

« Dessinons l’Amérique vu de dessous, de derrière, du bureau ovale. Racontons les putes, les PD, l’héroïne, les Parrains, Howard Huges, ceux qui tirent les ficelles, Sonny Liston bavant de trop d’héroïne, des couteaux enfoncés dans des orbites, des assassins dézingués au lance-flammes, des micros partout, des flics se faisant sucer backstage, des rouges couchant avec des fascistes, Hoover, Nixon, Rock Hudson ». Polar… Ellroy… Plus suffisant comme format.

American Tabloïd. American Death Trip. Underworld USA
. Une trilogie donc. Trois fois 800 pages de saloperies made in America. Une mythologie. Moche, loin du sacré et camée jusqu’aux yeux : voilà qui change de celle des Comics, ces dieux à bannière étoilée en collants censer supplanter les Indiens massacrés. Il y a bien eu Watchmen pour aller voir le maquillage couler derrière les masques. Mais c’était Alan Moore qui racontait ça. Un anglais. Ca comptait à moitié. Car le peuple américain a besoin de parpaings dans les joues pour réagir. Et puis aussi, que ça vienne du pays.

Un costume sur mesure pour James Ellroy. Depuis ses débuts dans le polar, les fissures d’un pays gangrené par le MAL suintaient aux détours de chapitres racontant les cas de conscience de flics machos, violents et (souvent) brillants au taf. En trois tomes, il a inversé les rôles : le principal est joué par la nation aux 51 états. Et ça ne fait plus rêver. Mais ça sonne terriblement vrai.

Manipulation, j’écris ton nom

Ici, qu’on soit du FBI, de la Mafia, du LAPD, du Ku Klux Klan, dealer ou simple maquereau,  on se came (quaalude, héroïne, herbe, coke, alcool, amphétamines), on se connaît, on travaille ensemble, on baise ensemble. Et le bon vieux gimmick « Chercher à qui profite le crime » y nage comme un poisson dans l’eau. Le sport national de tout ce petit monde ? L’espionnage. Mais pas façon 007. Plutôt façon brasse coulée dans une mer de glauque : filatures spéciale voyeur, micros dans les chambres d’hôtel, fabrication de coupables (Lee Harvey Oswald, ça vous dit quelque chose ? Et James Earl Ray ?), violations de la vie privée à tour de bras… L’Amérique qui win ? Des tricheurs sous amphé et des assassins réfléchissant en dollars.

JFK, RFK, MLK : les idéaux, c’est mauvais pour la santé

Avec Underworld USA, Ellroy clôt donc sa trilogie Américaine. Entre temps, des brother Kennedy à Martin Luther King, en passant par tous ceux qu’il aura fallu dézinguer, manipuler, endoctriner, plus personne pour venir contester cette loi du plus fort drivant à 200 miles à l’heure un pays vertueux côté pile et dévoré de mauvaise conscience côté face. Sur la tranche, restent quelques essorés qui trouveront, en guise de rédemption, une machette, une rafale, un couteau (dans l’œil), un lance-flamme. Vie violente, fin violente, nous ne mourrons pas dans notre lit.

Seule éclaircie, Ellroy se la jouant Aragon à sa façon : ici, la femme peut être l’avenir de l’homme, même posthume. Face au désastre in progress, elles apportent un peu de douceur dans un monde où les marionnettistes d’un jour sont les pantins de demain. Hormis Nixon, les Parrains, Hoover, Howard Huges, ça va de soi. Show must go on. Et vous n’aviez pas vraiment envie de savoir comment, ni à quel prix. Ellroy vous en met 2400 pages ras la gueule. Plus moyen de regarder ailleurs. Pire, on tourne les pages rapidamente pour ne pas en perdre une miette, on se nourrit de cette violence, on devient voyeur à son tour, on trouve la laideur belle à regarder, grand frisson à peu de frais, peep-show politico-polar où se dessinent en creux les racines du mal. Pas de leçon à donner, mais quand même : quant au détour d’un chapitre on croise un Ronald Reagan pas encore président, on se rappelle que cet ancien acteur de western deviendra bientôt maître du monde ; un cowboy avec la bombe H dans son ceinturon. La pire des fictions n’avait pas scénarisé un truc pareil, bigger than life et que le show must go on, more than ever.

Le rêve Américain selon Ellroy ? Un cauchemar à la clim’ cassée, carburant aux amphétamines pour sucer toujours plus de sang la nuit venue. Ellroy met des noms sur ces petits soldats qui, croyant faire l’Histoire, crashent la leur, limant leurs dents trop longues et leurs monocles à petite portée. Dixit l’épisode en République Dominicaine, bastion résistant à tout, même aux Parrains : Les Zombies vaudou plus forts que les Yankees vampires. Barack Obama l’a prouvé, les esclaves noirs ont fini par avoir la peau (claire) de leurs maîtres. Jusqu’au prochain Dallas ?

James Ellroy // Underworld USA // Rivages

Illustration: http://www.roseandisabel.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

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