Monday, December 26, 2011
While I don't have any opinion on what I consider the year's best read, I'm absolutely certain about what I consider the worst. "The Belen Hitch," typed in 2005, is a mystery set in my hometown of Belen, NM. I thought it would be good ironic fun to read it while home over Xmas, but it left a foul taste that detracted some from all the good food of the day. The Belen of the book in no way resembles my hometown but for a couple of street names. The few settings that actually do exist (Harvey House, Hub Motel, Pete's Cafe) are in fact nothing like they are represented. It's as if the author did her research based on a single drive through town. This makes a greater sin out of her essentially bashing the town in print. Even this would be forgivable provided it were penned in decent prose. But it fails here too, being written in the usual cliche'd, tell-don't-show method of pop pap. Allow me to find certain inspiration in the bad prose to say that a golden turd is still a turd. Then I'll go further, mixing metaphors in order to call "The Belen Hitch" a shit sandwich, quoting one unnamed critic writing on Spinal Tap's misunderstood 1980 LP....
On the turntable: The Jam, "The Gift"