The Seattle Public Library

Your Account | Print-Friendly

November 29, 2015


Adults : About the Book & Author

Audience: Adults Header Image
Adults Calendar of Events - Author readings, classes, programs & special events for adults.

Library Locator

Map of Library Locations

About the Book & the Author

About the Book: The Painter  (Vintage Books, 2015)


Jim Stegner, a famous expressionist painter, shot a man in a Santa Fe bar for making a lewd comment about his daughter, served a year in prison, and has since struggled to manage the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. Jim suffered a tragedy that he's still grieving. He now lives in rural Colorado in a beautiful, peaceful valley where he spends his days painting, reading, and fly-fishing. Jim is living a quiet life ... until the day he comes across a hunting guide beating a small horse, and a brutal act of new violence rips his life wide open. Pursued by men dead set on retribution, Jim returns to New Mexico and the high-profile life he left behind, where he'll reckon with past deeds and the dark shadows in his own heart.

"[A] masterful novel in which love (parental and romantic), artistic vision, guilt, grief, and spine-chilling danger propel a suspenseful plot. ... [Heller] 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 review


About the Author: Peter Heller


Peter Heller

Peter Heller's first novel "The Dog Stars," published in 2012, was an international bestseller. "The Painter" was published in May 2014. Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, "Outside" magazine, "Men's Journal," and "National Geographic Adventure." He has published four works of literary nonfiction, including "Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave," which was awarded the 2010 National Outdoor Book Award for Literature.


Heller was born and raised in New York. He attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he discovered his love of the outdoors and whitewater kayaking. He has traveled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamir, Tien Shan, and Caucasus mountains, and Central America and Peru. He received an MFA in fiction and poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he won a Michener Fellowship for his epic poem, “The Psalms of Malvine.” He lives in Denver, Colorado.

About 'Seattle Reads'

"Seattle Reads" is designed to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion. Seattle Reads “The Painter” is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with additional support from media sponsors The Seattle Times and KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, and Vintage Books, The Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books, and University Book Store.

What has Seattle read in years past?

For details, see Previous Years' Featured Works.

Seattle Reads
2015 Seattle Reads: 'The Painter' by Peter Heller

Seattle Reads Events

Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library