A Flower in the Heart of the Painting, by Amy Krohn
A Flower in the Heart of the Painting is a collection of short stories by award-winning author Amy Krohn. Set almost exclusively in the rural heart of the Midwest, A Flower in the Heart of the Painting is populated by a cast of quiet characters whose land and interior lives are brought into full relief. Like Tolstoi and Cather, Krohn draws us into unassuming, ordinary dramas in order to reveal that, in spite of our best efforts to live compartmentalized, comfortable lives loosened from the transcendent, everything is at stake. The heart of the collection is “A Portrait of Happiness and Love,” a hundred page novella modeled after Tolstoi's short novel Family Happiness. In each story idealized marriages are tested, drained of false romanticism and yet, as Krohn's narrator notes, “What love we shared had suffered blows, and yet, bent and wounded, it grew upward, fiercer than before.”
Praise for A Flower in the Heart of the Painting
"Amy Krohn's A Flower in the Heart of the Painting is a strongly cohesive, quietly intense collection of stories, graceful in every sense of the word. Her characters face a variety of situations, wrestling with some of the most challenging mysteries of romance and fulfilled love, family and faith, childhood and maturity. Yet uniting the stories is a firm focus on art—not as mere escape or ornament but as a life-changing, spirit-filled, identifying endeavor. Krohn writes beautifully, with delicately evocative language throughout, not to mention penetrating observation and psychological depth. A very fine debut."—Professor David Graham, author of After Confession, Stutter Monk, and Greatest Hits
"Amy Krohn’s stories are carefully drawn portraits—life studies if you will—of ordinary men and women who inhabit the rural landscapes of Wisconsin. These are inward-turning stories, 'Where the Meanings, are–' as Emily Dickinson says. Krohn renders her subjects and themes with delicate brush strokes, with the control and precision of a water colorist. These stories are acts of faith and hope. As one of her narrators says, 'Isn’t art the act of creation, after all? As God speaks the world into existence, so the artist extracts her own world from an empty place.' She easily could be speaking of Amy Krohn's fiction."—Thom Tammaro, editor, Inheriting the Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest and Imagining Home: Writing from the Midwest.