Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman, R.I.P.

We’ve lost another wonderful writer. This time it is Tony Hillerman who wrote the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn novels along with several stand alone novels. I first read Hillerman in the late-1980s and then, like so many of the authors of my youth, I lost track of his work until about four years ago when I read Skinwalkers. The Navajo tribal range never seemed as stark, as likable, or so much like home before Mr Hillerman brought it to life with his skill and talent.

He will be missed.

Here is the opening Marylin Stasio’s obituary in the International Herald Tribune (The New York Times):

Tony Hillerman, whose lyrical, authentic and compelling mystery novels set among the Navajos of the Southwest blazed innovative trails in the American detective story, died Sunday at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, The Associated Press reported.

He was 83 and lived in Albuquerque.

The cause was pulmonary failure, according to the AP report.

Click Here to read it all.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. He was a wonderful writer and will be missed. I love his novels and the movies made based on them for PBS.

Ben Boulden said...

I agree. He was a wonderful writer. When I read one of his novels I'm not only entertained, but I always learn something about the Navajo tradition and people.

The PBS films were also great. I really enjoyed the performance of the actor--Adam Beach--who played Chee. He has a very likable screen presence. The films produced for PBS are:

A THIEF OF TIME
COYOTE WAITS
SKIN WALKERS

I'm not sure why PBS quite making these, but each of the films were really pretty good. In my memory Robert Redford'd son was the executive producer.

Ben Boulden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taunie Cavanaugh said...

It's always sad to hear that someone has died. I read one of his novels about 12 years ago, at your suggestion, and I really enjoyed it. I'm going to read Skin Walkers and see what I think.

Ben Boulden said...

Tony Hillerman is one of my favorite authors. His work has a seemingly simple style that is hiding a rich meaning and understanding. It will--I hope--still be around fifty or a hundreds years from now. His work is very much in the popular fiction category, but it's readability and view into an important and little known culture, will give it life for some time to come.

Enjoy SKINWALKERS. I need to get one of his novels off the bookshelf too.

Ben