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Customer Review

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Psychologically Intense Fictional Portrait of a Western Painter, April 21, 2014
This review is from: The Painter: A novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Peter Heller follows up his brilliant debut novel "The Dog Stars" with "The Painter", which firmly establishes him as one of the most important writers writing about the contemporary West in fiction. In naming his protagonist Jim Stegner, Heller is probably paying homage to the late Wallace Stegner, often viewed as the "Dean of Western Writers", whose former students include the likes of Larry McMurtry and Edward Abbey, among others. Heller offers us a psychologically intense fictional portrait of Stegner, an extremely gifted, largely self-taught, painter who is represented by a noted Santa Fe, New Mexico art dealer. In a literary style that owes much to McMurtry and Ivan Doig ("The Bartender's Tale") as representative in chronicling the contemporary West, Heller introduces us to a compellingly flawed character who is haunted by the senseless murder of his teenaged daughter, and one who resorts to violence merely to defend those whom he perceives are helpless, whether it is his daughter, or a badly mistreated horse. However, in comparison with those whom Stegner is compelled to kill, he comes across more as an avenging vigilante seeking justice, than as a homicidal lone wolf. Heller's superb prose and excellent storytelling skills are as compelling as they were in "The Dog Stars", and yet, readers who aren't familiar with contemporary American painting devoted to the West or, in general, the Western United States, or cherish Heller's excellent descriptive prose describing nature, may find "The Painter" a less satisfying read than his debut novel. However, I believe "The Painter" will be acknowledged by many as a worthy successor to "The Dog Stars" and one that may be viewed as one of the best American novels published this year. (EDITORIAL NOTE: While I acknowledge the assistance rendered again by a mutual friend of Heller and yours truly, it hasn't influenced my favorable appraisal of this novel.)
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 23, 2014 2:43:47 PM PDT
moonspinner says:
So,then -- just how DO you spell BIASED?!?!
LOL!!!
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Review Details

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Reviewer

John Kwok
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   

Location: New York, NY USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,637