July 15, 2007

Review of The Sinister Pig

As we headed into the Four Corners area--i.e., Hillerman country--we started listening to Hillerman's The Sinister Pig on CD. I've read about half of his books and this was by far the worst one. My girlfriend the English teacher agreed, so we gave it up after five chapters. (We could've called it quits much sooner, but we gave it a generous chance.)

As far as I'm concerned, the following comments from Amazon.com sum up The Sinister Pig:
  • I have read most of Mr. Hillerman's Chee/Leaphorn books and enjoyed all of them, even the early ones that lacked the depth of his later works, but this book left me cold.

  • This was my first Hillerman story, so I was not at all familiar with any of the characters. There isn't one character in this story that I feel compelled to read more about. I'm not rushing to find another Hillerman story.

  • I have read every Leaphorn/Chee book by Hillerman more than once and am a great fan. I just finished this book and discussed it with a friend.. we both agreed it was so disappointing... we cannot believe it was written by the same person. The writing was awkward and heavy-handed... by the second page I suspected something was wrong here. It reads like some cheap Harlequin mystery/romance.

  • If Tony Hillerman wrote this novel (novella actually), I sure can't tell. I have been a Chee/Leaphorn fan for many years, but this novel is not in the same league with Hillerman's other work. It is reminiscent of a 'B' movie. Instead of building suspense, the plot is laid out all too plainly, the characters are unreal, and the Chee/Bernie romance doesn't ring true. I am amazed that it was published.
  • Rob's rating:  2.5 of 10.

    4 comments:

    russell said...

    Writerfella here --
    THE SINISTER PIG now is several years old but it certainly revealed that Hillerman is, 1. getting old; 2. coasting on his best-selling history; and, 3. proving that he has gone to that particular wellspring too many times. writerfella elsewhere in this blog has noted that Hillerman, being Caucasian, cannot think like a Native American and thus his Native American characters also cannot so think. He does have Native technical advisers now to keep his facts and information straight, but that's about it. He's done...
    All Best
    Russ Bates
    'writerfella'

    Rob said...

    As I trust you know, I review old movies, books, and comics as well as new ones.

    You've noted that "Hillerman, being Caucasian, cannot think like a Native American and thus his Native American characters also cannot so think." And I've noted that John Fusco, being Caucasian, cannot think like a Native American and thus his Native American characters also cannot so think. You've failed to respond to this argument because you presumably can't. I.e., because the only distinction you can muster between Fusco and Hillerman is that you like one and don't like the other.

    russell said...

    Writerfella here --
    If writerfella doesn't like Hillerman, then why has writerfella read all of Hillerman's works and collected most of them? Now, writerfella doesn't like Larry McMurtry and there is not a vestige nor a whisper of McMurtry in the Bates Memorial Library nor the Bates Memorial Film and TV collection. writerfella also has all of the Hillerman films that have been made. Remember writerfella's proviso about people who assume: they never get past the first three letters...
    All Best
    Russ Bates
    'writerfella'

    Rob said...

    I didn't assume anything, since you explicitly wrote that Hillerman can't write Native characters and is "done" as a writer. Or are you saying you like his work (including The Sinister Pig) even though it's no longer good? I wouldn't put this conclusion past you since your critical abilities are sadly lacking.

    Meanwhile, you dodged another question you obviously couldn't answer. Why is one white man adept at writing Native characters but not another? Can a white man (e.g., John Fusco) write authentic Native characters or can't he?

    If you're not too afraid, try answering the question this time. Or watch me continue to point out your silly contradictions.