Book Details

Harper Collins Logo

To read e-books on the HC Reader App, download it on:

Willem De Kooning's Paintbrush

About the Book

“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 fiction contest and The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons award for short fiction. For readers of Lorrie Moore, Denis Johnson and Michael Christie.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise




“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

“An energetic and disturbing collection of stories. I loved the rush of reading it.” —Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap and Barracuda

“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

“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

“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

“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

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443435796
  • ISBN 10: 1443435791
  • Imprint: HarperAvenue
  • On Sale: 04/26/2016
  • Pages: 272
  • List Price: 11.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)

Willem De Kooning's Paintbrush by Kerry Lee Powell

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.


International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.

HarperCollins Reader

We created the HC Reader App to be a simple way to read our e-books. Our App is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

We strongly encourage using the HarperCollins reader application since it supports the type of file we are using. You may experience some technical difficulties using a different reader application.


  1. You need a HarperCollins Account. If you purchase/have purchased an e-book from HarperCollins, this is your account login and password. If not, please click here to register.
  2. Download the HC Reader App on iOS or Android. Enter your HarperCollins account username and password. Please note that your username is an e-mail address.
  3. Download your e-book and enjoy!