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The Painter

by Peter Heller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6925833,905 (3.76)79
"Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best-seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past. Years ago, a well-known expressionist painter named Jim Stegner shot a man in a bar. The man lived, Jim served his time, and he has learned to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. Jim enjoys a quiet life in the valleys of Colorado. He works with a lovely model, he doesn't drink, he goes fly fishing in the evenings. His paintings fetch excellent prices at a posh gallery in Santa Fe. He is--if he can admit it--almost happy. One day, driving down a dirt road, Jim sees a man beating a small horse. Jim leaps out of the truck, tackles the man, and bloodies his nose. The man is Dell, a cruel hunting outfitter notorious among locals. Jim cannot shake his rage over the little horse. The next night, under a full moon, telling himself he is just going night fishing, he returns to the creek where Dell has his camp and kills him. As Jim tries to come to terms with what he has done, he must evade the police, navigate his own conscience, and escape the members of Dell's clan set on revenge. And he paints the whole time; trying to make sense of his actions. Traveling from the rough adobe cottages and rivers of Colorado to the bright streets and galleries of Santa Fe, aching with grief and transcendent with beauty, The Painter is a story about art and love and violence, and using the remnants of hardship to create a rich life"-- "Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past"--… (more)
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» See also 79 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
What a book! Who would have thought that a book about an alcoholic fly fishing painter in New Mexico could be so interesting?

While the plot spins a bit out of control the writing was so good that I didn't care. I loved reading about the paintings and how people responded to them. I wish I could see them in real life and not just in my imagination.

Unlike anything else and a pleasure to read. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Alternating discussion of art, natural beauty and fly fishing with very tense violent episodes this novel certainly holds one's attention. The protagonist is a large somewhat unstable alcoholic with an explosive temper and, consequently, we are not sure what to expect. I had to put it down a few times so as not to disturb my wa. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
Peter Heller writes in such a unique style; it makes me love reading his physical books. He has an incredible ability to suck me into the story, especially the main character’s life. It doesn’t matter how inappropriate the behavior, he tells the MC’s story in such a way that I can only feel empathy. The story of the painter is filled with grief and sadness; how poorly he coped with those emotions. He’s very insightful as he learns about himself and his blind, immediate response to physical threats. The painter is a raw character with plenty of flaws and a man who only dreams of a simple life. ( )
  NatalieRiley | Jun 17, 2023 |
This book was a four star read for me all the way up to the ending. But, for me, the ending made the book, so I'm giving it that extra star. This story is very well written and in a very masculine voice. Jim is a moderately successful artist and fly fisherman. He has a temper, an alcohol problem, and some trauma in his past. These issues drive the story, while using first person narrative to totally make the reader sympathize with the protagonist. And that's what intrigued me. Is Jim a good person or a bad person? It is hard to say, but regardless, you root for him throughout. Jim's painting reflects aspects of his life, and I felt the author does a great job of making art interesting and using art to enhance the storyline in a very literary way. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Little hard to get into at first but overall good read ( )
  Chy2104 | Aug 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter Hellerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To all the artists in my family
And to Jim Wagner and Nancy Carter
And Kim
First words
I never imagined I would shoot a man.
Quotations
Nestled down in all this high rough country like a train set.
Sofia pulls up in the Subaru she calls Triceratops. It's that old. I can hear the rusted out muffler up on the county road, caterwauling like a Harley, hear the drop in tone as it turns down the steep gravel driveway. The downshift in the dip and dinosaur roar as it climbs again to the house. Makes every entrance very dramatic, which she is.
"I'm young," she says. It's a simple statement, incontrovertible, and it stabs me with something like pain in the middle of my laughter.
The afternoon is somber under cloud, then the edge tugs away and the water sparks in a sudden sweep of sunlight.
I almost cannot contain–the rage and the tenderness together like a boiling weather front.
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"Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best-seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past. Years ago, a well-known expressionist painter named Jim Stegner shot a man in a bar. The man lived, Jim served his time, and he has learned to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. Jim enjoys a quiet life in the valleys of Colorado. He works with a lovely model, he doesn't drink, he goes fly fishing in the evenings. His paintings fetch excellent prices at a posh gallery in Santa Fe. He is--if he can admit it--almost happy. One day, driving down a dirt road, Jim sees a man beating a small horse. Jim leaps out of the truck, tackles the man, and bloodies his nose. The man is Dell, a cruel hunting outfitter notorious among locals. Jim cannot shake his rage over the little horse. The next night, under a full moon, telling himself he is just going night fishing, he returns to the creek where Dell has his camp and kills him. As Jim tries to come to terms with what he has done, he must evade the police, navigate his own conscience, and escape the members of Dell's clan set on revenge. And he paints the whole time; trying to make sense of his actions. Traveling from the rough adobe cottages and rivers of Colorado to the bright streets and galleries of Santa Fe, aching with grief and transcendent with beauty, The Painter is a story about art and love and violence, and using the remnants of hardship to create a rich life"-- "Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past"--

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