I finished The Painter today by Peter Heller. It was perfect timing in my life to read this book, since I just visited Arizona last weekend. Although the book is set in southern Colorado and New Mexico, the scenery fit well. Heller's alluring and accurate descriptions of the land were right outside my window.
This is one of the most beautifully crafted books I've read in a long time. Peter Heller studied poetry at the University of Iowa, and it shows in his writing. Although this is a standard novel, it reads like poetry and soothes the mind even in the most disturbing scenes. Jim Stegner, our protagonist, is a painter and fly fisherman and possibly a deeply violent individual. Early in the novel he sets out for a day of fly fishing and comes across a horrific scene of animal abuse. Jim is provoked to take action and the result is a profound look at violence, regret, and culpability. This book will stay with me for a long time.
Look for this book on the shelves May 9th.