Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion

Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion

Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion

Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion

Synopsis

Edgar Award-winning writer Tony Hillerman has earned a reputation as a Grand Master of the popular mystery. This is the first full-length examination of his work. One of the most successful contemporary American writers, Hillerman has made his stories of Native American detectives instrumental to understanding modern American life. Through the creation of his Navajo detective characters and his treatment of the problems of order and identity in modern society, Hillerman has given new vigor to the popular genre of mystery fiction. This study examines each of his 13 novels in turn and includes a biographical chapter and a chapter on his innovations in the genre of detective fiction. This careful study of the narrative techniques and thematic investigations of Hillerman's detective fiction illuminates the way he has crafted a new and profound method for understanding the conditions of modern life. A biographical chapter traces the influence of his life on his writing. Individual chapters on his novels are divided into sections on setting, plot, generic conventions, character development, and themes. In addition, Reilly offers alternate approaches - such as feminist criticism or post-colonialism - from which to read the novel, which gives the reader another perspective on the fiction. This study discusses all of Hillerman's novels: The Blessing Way, The Fly on the Wall, Dance Hall of the Dead, People of Darkness, The Dark Wind, Listening Woman, The Ghostway, Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time, Talking God, Coyote Waits, Sacred Clowns, and Finding Moon. A complete bibliography of Hillerman's work, critical and biographical sources, and a list of reviews of each of his novels completes the work.

Excerpt

The authors who appear in the series Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers are all best-selling writers. They do not have only one successful novel, but a string of them. Fans, critics, and specialist readers eagerly anticipate their next book. For some, high cash advances and breakthrough sales figures are automatic; movie deals often follow. Some writers become household names, recognized by almost everyone.

But novels are read one by one. Each reader chooses to start and, more importantly, to finish a book because of what she or he finds there. the real test of a novel is in the satisfaction its readers experience. This series acknowledges the extraordinary involvement of readers and writers in creating a best-seller.

The authors included in this series were chosen by an Advisory Board composed of high school English teachers and high school and public librarians. They ranked a list of best-selling writers according to their popularity among different groups of readers. Writers in the top-ranked group who had not received book-length, academic literary analysis (or none in at least the past ten years) were chosen for the series. Because of this selection method, Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers meets a need that is not addressed elsewhere.

The volumes in the series are written by scholars with particular expertise in analyzing popular fiction. These specialists add an acade-

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