Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peter Heller's wonderful sophomore effort, The Painter. My review.

If you loved The Dog Stars by Heller, you'll probably really like The Painter. Heller's main character, the painter, Jim Stegner is very much like Hig in that first novel. 

A feeling of loss pervades our lives, and many of us use creativity as a way to repair those broken parts of ourselves, or find the lost ones.

Jim Stegner is a fairly successful painter. he is also a bereaved father, a convicted killer, an alcoholic, and a fly fishing addict. He loves animals, women, poetry, and the outdoors. He is not from a privileged background. He is prone to violence when angered by injustice. But he is also intuitive and knows when to hide.

When he comes across a brutal scene unfolding outside of the New Mexico town he lives near, where a man is ruthlessly beating a small horse, he steps forward to intervene. Not because he's a tough guy, but because he's sensitive and every victim he sees reminds him of his murdered teenage daughter, Alce. The decision to take a stand and help this little horse leads to a series of events that he is not all that new to...

Clearly, Mr Heller is a lover of poetry and all things beautiful, whether created by nature or an artist. His fictional characters often seem cookie cutter/stereo-typical: especially the woman, and that might be what I found to be the biggest fault with his writing. However, in his defense, he is writing about a man from a man's point of view. And while there are a few moments where the writing falters (there is one similar scene in The Dog Stars as well), I can forgive Heller that. Because so much of this novel sparkles. 

5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment