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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

Willem De Kooning's Paintbrush

by (author) Kerry Lee Powell

Initial publish date
Apr 2016
Short Stories (single author)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2016
    List Price

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“Powerful. . . . Full of dark nostalgia.” —NATHAN ENGLANDER

“A literary high-wire act, not for the faint of heart.” —ALISSA YORK

An unflinching and masterful collection of award-winning stories, Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush is a career-making debut. Ranging from an island holiday gone wrong to a dive bar on the upswing to a yuppie mother in a pricey subdivision seeing her worst fears come true, these deftly written stories are populated by barkeeps, good men down on their luck, rebellious teens, lonely immigrants, dreamers and realists, fools and quiet heroes. In author Kerry Lee Powell’s skillful hands, each character, no matter what their choices, is deeply human in their search for connection. Powell holds us in her grasp, exploring with a black humour themes of belonging, the simmering potential for violence and the meaning of art no matter where it is found, and revealing with each story something essential about the way we see the world.

A selection of these stories have won significant awards including the Boston Review short story contest and The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction.

About the author

Born in Montreal, KERRY-LEE POWELL has lived in Australia, Antigua and the United Kingdom, where she studied Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cardiff University and directed a literature promotion agency. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies throughout the United Kingdom and North America, including The Spectator, the Boston Review and the Virago Writing Women series. In 2013, she won the Boston Review fiction contest, The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for short fiction and the Alfred G Bailey manuscript prize.

Kerry Lee Powell's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“An energetic and disturbing collection of stories. I loved the rush of reading it.”

Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap and Barracuda

“Masterful . . . . In several stories, characters mired in difficult situations look to the mystical to help them escape, and Powell’s delicacy in these stories is wonderfully successful.”

Winnipeg Free Press

“These are beautiful stories. They will make you think and they will make you feel and they will always, always, reward your attention.”

Alexander MacLeod, author of the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Light Lifting

“Kerry Lee Powell writes with the voice of a prophet crying from the wilderness. She writes of liars and losers, frauds and impostors who dream of escape into extremity, escape from life’s artificiality. With a poet’s control over imagery, her painted tableaux explode into sudden shimmering violence.”

Carrie Snyder, author of Girl Runner

“Harrowing, whip-smart, both lyrical and tough-as-nails, these stories pack a wallop. With her keen eye and wide-open heart, Powell has managed to capture the strange, malevolent undertow that burbles just beneath the surface of contemporary life. And lucky for us, it makes for a breathtaking read.”

Michael Christie, author of The Beggar's Garden and If I Fall, If I Die

“A transcendent collection . . . . Within Powell’s 15 stories, it is impossible to pick a crown jewel. Each one feels like the favourite until the next.”

National Post

“Powerful. . . . Full of dark nostalgia and observed in sharp, vivid prose.”

Nathan Englander, author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

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