Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush

Kerry Lee Powell

Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush

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. (From HarperAvenue)

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She was still having nightmares about Magic Mountain six months after the attack. Not the amusement park but the roller coaster as it plunged into the lights below. In her dream it was a fall into hell, the pool of neon signs and shapes fluorescing with the intensity of gamma rays. The engulfment left her drenched and upright, reaching for the bedside lamp whose bulb had burned out weeks ago.

They had gone to L.A. for a vacation, their first since moving in together earlier that year. They stayed at a hotel in Hollywood, rented a car and drove out into the burnt-sienna scenery so familiar to them from a childhood spent watching seventies TV shows that it felt like a homecoming. They did the tour of Universal Studios and the Walk of Fame. They went to Magic Mountain on a whim, having run out of ideas about how to spend their last evening before their late flight home.

"Get ready for an eruption of sights and thrills," said Boyd, flipping through the guidebook as if it was a deck of cards.

From Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush by Kerry Lee Powell ©2016. Published by Harper Avenue.