08 July 2014

Today's Read: The Painter by Peter Heller

The Painter by Peter HellerAlthough I've written about Peter Heller's second novel twice for other venues and although I've both read and listened to it, I haven't yet talked about The Painter here on Beth Fish Reads.

Here's why: I loved so much about this book that I don't want to dissect and analyze it; I just want to savor the story. So instead of a review, I'm giving you a Today's Read and a teaser. Minus my usual opening questions.

I never imagined I would shoot a man. Or be a father. Or live so far from the sea.
The Painter by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House / A. A. Knopf, 2014, p. 3, uncorrected proof)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: small-town Colorado, the American Southwest wilderness, Santa Fe; modern times
  • Circumstances: Painter and fly-fisherman Jim Stegner—sometimes short tempered, always mourning his losses—crosses the wrong man on a deserted Colorado road. When his anger gets the best of him, Stegner begins to unravel
  • Characters: Jim Stegner: painter and fly-fisherman; Dell, Grant, and Jason: men you don't want to know; Sofia: model and friend; neighbors and friends, people from Jim's past
  • Genre: part psychological thriller, part character study
  • Things I thought about: the thin line between good and evil; the way life can change in the blink of an eye; the tight-knit communities of small towns; love; violence; doing the right thing (and knowing what that is)
  • Things I love about Heller: his descriptions of the landscape, of the artist at work, and of fishing; his ability to find the aching, tender points of his characters; the starkness and beauty of his prose
  • Audiobook: The unabridged audiobook  (Random House Audio; 11 hr, 26 min) is performed by Mark Deakins, whose sensitive reading is well worth the listen. (For more on the audiobook, see my review for AudioFile magazine.)
  • One more thing: The best book I've read this year


Yvonne 7/8/14, 7:24 AM  

Wow, this sounds like an excellent book.

rhapsodyinbooks 7/8/14, 7:30 AM  

LOL - everyone uses that quote in their reviews! But isn't he just the best? It was so poetic too that I really do wish I had listened to it. I still may, one of these days!

(Diane) bookchickdi 7/8/14, 7:50 AM  

I feel the same way when I read a fantastic book; sometimes I think my words about it are inadequate. This must be some book if you say it's the best of the year, I'm going to check this one out for sure.

Daryl 7/8/14, 7:52 AM  

i loved Dog Stars .. loved it … i read a review of this in the NY Times and wasn't sure i would love it .. still considering it … thanks!

bermudaonion 7/8/14, 7:52 AM  

It sounds like I need to read this one soon!

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms 7/8/14, 7:56 AM  

I love your teaser, Beth! And I can totally get not wanting to dissect a book because you loved it, and that was enough :)

Thanks for stopping by earlier. Happy reading.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

Karen and Gerard 7/8/14, 8:21 AM  

Sounds good, adding this to my TBR!

Juli Rahel 7/8/14, 8:36 AM  

I sometimes hate reviewing books I loved because I don't want to nitpick and unravel something beautiful! Also because with really good books you can never really describe what makes them amazing! This is definitely an interesting teaser though, three very random facts! Thanks for sharing :)
My Tuesday Intro
Juli @ Universe in Words

Michelle 7/8/14, 9:37 AM  

Makes me think...we don't always know what our lot in life is.

My TT is here:

Anonymous,  7/8/14, 10:07 AM  

thanks! added to my TBR

Laurel-Rain Snow 7/8/14, 10:18 AM  

Oh, it sounds awesome...the setting, the characters, and I love psychological thrillers.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Claudia {Sparrowhawk} 7/8/14, 11:23 AM  

Sounds intense! I love your idea of providing quick facts too!

Sparrow's Teaser | Wonder

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 7/8/14, 11:36 AM  

So many people loved this book but it just didn't work for me. I must be missing something. I absolutely loved The Dog Stars.

Anonymous,  7/8/14, 12:01 PM  

I have seen this title around and didn't pick it up, but your "non-review" really grabbed at me. Also your high praise for it validates my decision. I will be looking for this at my library. If not, perhaps I will buy it, so thanks so much.

Sandra Nachlinger 7/8/14, 12:03 PM  

This sounds like a wonderful book. The main character sounds like a fascinating person, and I enjoy stories set in this part of the U.S. I'll read this one for sure.
My Teaser is from RYELEE’S COWBOY.

Unknown 7/8/14, 12:44 PM  

Sounds wonderful. I'm glad you loved it.

Anonymous,  7/8/14, 1:13 PM  

Great recommendation. I'm from the Southwest too and had relatives in Santa Fe.

Mine this week is The Family Way by Rhys Bowen. http://wp.me/pZnGI-9f

Margot 7/8/14, 1:31 PM  

I understand your feeling about a book being so good you don't want to review it. You did an excellent job of highlighting the book - enough to make me want to read it too. Your best book of the year also says a lot.

kayerj 7/8/14, 1:36 PM  

I like Peter Heller and this sounds like an excellent book. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks so much for coming by today. I really enjoyed your comments. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Belle Wong 7/8/14, 1:59 PM  

Will definitely have to look out for this one, if it's the best book you've read this year so far!

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 7/8/14, 2:12 PM  

Wow - that's a ringing endorsement! I'll have to check this one out.

Heather 7/8/14, 3:46 PM  

That's quite an opneing, definitely grabs your attention. Mine: Daring to Dream

Missie 7/8/14, 7:37 PM  

I love you helpful hints! Great teaser!
Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 7/8/14, 7:55 PM  

Love the opening lines, which immediately engaged me. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous,  7/8/14, 9:23 PM  

Intense teaser. I would not have imagined the last two items on a list with the first. Thanks for sharing Here's my Teaser

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 7/8/14, 9:53 PM  

Yes, that intro grabs your attention for sure. enjoy

Kailana 7/8/14, 10:52 PM  

I really want to read Peter Heller, but I just haven't got around to him. I really must!

Udita Banerjee 7/9/14, 2:06 AM  

True, one never knows!

Pooch 7/9/14, 2:26 PM  

You offer so many compelling reasons to read this book not the least of which is the small town Colorado setting.


Nise' 7/9/14, 7:45 PM  

I always pay attention when a book is rated a "favorite".

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