The Painter (Hardcover)

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Virgie's Staff Pick (May 2014): You know that feeling when you have a nightmare … nothing makes sense … events seem absurd? Reading this story gave me the same feeling! The life of celebrated painter, ardent fisherman and philosopher, Jim Stegner, is an absolute nightmare! The opening lines of the book set you up for a wild ride of a story; “I never imagined I would shoot a man. Or be a father. Or live so far from the sea. As a child, you imagine your life sometimes, how it will be. I never thought I would be a painter.” As Stegner explores the emotion of art, violence and grief, one doesn’t know whether to love, pity or fear this vulnerable character! The plot is captivating.

— From Virgie's Picks

Ron's Staff Pick (May 2014): Looking for a tense, can’t put it down, read, coupled with some straight up beautiful writing? Look no further – read The Painter. Jim Stegner is a tortured man, an extraordinary painter, consumed by the physical act of painting, trying to find himself in a life of loss. Fly fishing is his solace. Here he is fishing at night, working his way upstream among the boulders of a running stream:

I followed them. Lost myself and followed them. Sometimes I saw the bushy little fly hit and drift, sometimes I lost it in a silvering of current. When I got a strike – sometimes I heard it first. In the calm places. A gulp. A blip, the double note, nose and tail. And the rod tip bent hard, the shiver. And then the old euphoria.

Jim is impulsive, and this book explodes. What happens surprises, over and over again.
Don’t miss it.

— From Ron's Picks


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.
Jim Stegner has seen his share of violence and loss. Years ago he shot a man in a bar. His marriage disintegrated. He grieved the one thing he loved. In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. He works with a lovely model. His paintings fetch excellent prices. But one afternoon, on a dirt road, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open. Fleeing Colorado, chased by men set on retribution, Jim returns to New Mexico, tormented by his own relentless conscience.
A stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief, The Painter is the story of a man who longs to transcend the shadows in his heart, a man intent on using the losses he has suffered to create a meaningful life.

About the Author

Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado."

Praise For…

Praise for The Painter:

"Jim Stegner, celebrated painter, ardent fisherman and homespun philosopher, narrates this masterful novel, in which love (parental and romantic), artistic vision, guilt, grief, and spine-chilling danger propel a suspenseful plot. . . Heller is equally skillful at describing the creation of a painting as he is at describing the thrilling details of a gunfight. Here, he explores the mysteries of the human heart and creates an indelible portrait of a man searching for peace, while seeking to maintain his humanity in the face of violence and injustice." —Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Heller’s writing is sure-footed and rip-roaring, star-bright and laced with ‘dark yearning,’ coalescing in an ever-escalating, ravishing, grandly engrossing and satisfying tale of righteousness and revenge, artistic fervor and moral ambiguity." Booklist (starred)

Praise for The Dog Stars:

“Extraordinary. . . . One of those books that makes you happy for literature.” —Junot Díaz, The Wall Street Journal
“This end-of-the-world novel [is] more like a rapturous beginning. . . . Remarkable.” —San Francisco Chronicle 
“For all those who thought Cormac McCarthy’s The Road the last word on the post-apocalyptic world—think again. . . . Make time and space for this savage, tender, brilliant book.” —Glen Duncan, author of The Last Werewolf
“Heart-wrenching and richly written. . . . The Dog Stars is a love story, but not just in the typical sense. It’s an ode to friendship between two men, a story of the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“A dreamy, postapocalyptic love letter to things of beauty, big and small.” –Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl 

"Heartbreaking" —The Seattle Times
“A brilliant success.” —The New Yorker

Product Details
ISBN: 9780385352093
ISBN-10: 0385352093
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
Pages: 384
Language: English