Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tony Hillerman: An Appreciation

AT noted with sadness on Monday the death of novelist Tony Hillerman. He was 83.

Hillerman, an Oklahoma native, became famous in the 1980s for his books about the Navajo tribal police and two of its officers, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.

The good folks at USA Today published an appreciation of Hillerman in Tuesday's edition. Writer Bob Minzesheimer wrote that Hillerman won many literary prizes for his mysteries, but he was most honored to be recognized as a favorite writer of the Navajo.

One of those honors was being voted "the most popular author by the students of St. Catherine Indian School."

"I wanted Americans to stop thinking of Navajos as primitive persons, to understand that they are sophisticated and complicated," Hillerman once said.

Hillerman wrote 29 books, 18 of which featured Navajo officers Leaphorn and Chee.

UPDATE: The New York Times obituary has much more on Hillerman, his life and his books. It can be found here.

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