“Michael Winter’s writing blows my mind–it’s sharp and hard and beautiful and so completely original.”
-Miriam Toews, author of A Complicated Kindness and All My Puny Sorrows
“Michael Winter redefines the Canadian novel. . . Infused with tragedy and humour. . . The Architects Are Here confirms Winter’s reputation as one of Canada’s most distinctive literary talents.”
With piercing humour, astonishing insight and clarity of voice, The Architects Are Here delivers a vivid portrait of lives in exciting–and reckless–flux an confirms Michael Winter as one of the best and most distinctive contemporary literary talents.
When a freak accident with a gas line blows out the windows of novelist Gabriel English’s apartment, he is forced to come to terms with the disappearance of his enigmatic girlfriend Nell. He sets out on a road trip back to his hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland with his childhood friend David Twombly, whose father has been in an accident back home; Nell may be implicated. As the journey progresses, their friendship is tested, there are revelations, confrontations and a startling denouement involving the sinister Hurley clan, a family that both men have known and feared since childhood.
“How, exactly, does a novel that seems to break every rule end up being such a fulfilling read? The answer might be that Winter has tapped the ineffable. The Architects Are Here is not modelled on fiction, but rooted in the guts and hurly-burly of life, capturing that experience as few novels do. . . .It is less a novel than it is a force of nature, a bloody, ugly, ultimately uplifting taste of life itself. . . Not only does it succeed, it absolutely soars with catharsis, resonance and unexpected resolution.”
“[A] gem of a novel. . .Winter is a writer who embraces adult life and examines sexual relations in just the sort of straightforward ways that [Henry] James insisted novelists must do to enlarge, rather than diminish, our sense of human possibility. . . The Architects Are Here is an intense, textured, tangled love story. . . One can say of Michael Winter precisely what V.S. Pritchet wrote. . . of Henry James: ‘In serious matters, in sorrows, in the sad concerns of his family, especially, he is deeply tender, wise, and concerned. He is a great praiser and healer, the care showing as much in his sentences as in his feelings.’ This puts him right alongside Barbara Gowdy in the front rank of writers worth reading no matter how daunting and inhospitable the terrain their stories take readers across.”
–The Globe and Mail
“With the publication of his latest novel, The Architects Are Here, Newfoundland’s Michael Winter is well on his way to having one of the most distinctive voices in Canadian literature. . . mixing elements of E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News with the basic elements of a Hollywood road movie (think “Sideways” by way of “Goin’ Down the Road” in reverse). The glory of Winter is his writing style, a sharp-edged yet brittle prose that cannot be quickly summarized. Like a poem, Winter’s prose must wash over the reader in its entirety, letting his asides and quick-cut thought edits bounce around in the readers’ mind, quietly revealing character through humour warm yet grim. . .It is Winter’s absolute command of voice which proves that his sublime previous novel, The Big Why (a contender for the great 21st century Canadian novel), was no fluke. Already in his short professional life, Winter has burst through the pack with his startling personal mix of lyrical cadence, imagination and warmth. The Architects are Here is proof positive that Winter is something special.
–Winnipeg Free Press
“Mesmerizing. . . Beautifully written, doleful and comic and heartfelt, this just might be the book to bring the 42-year-old Winter the broader audience many think he has long deserved.”
“Tragedy always has a backstory, usually a complicated one, what Winter delivers here in lean, poetic, nuanced phrases. . .The trajectory is precise, and predetermined, and we can only watch as Winter calmly executes the inevitable, violent, but beautiful ending.”
–The Block Magazine
Penguin Canada, September 2007 (lead title)
Longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize