Skip to content

By Michael Winter

“[T]his is a highly entertaining and ultimately profound novel of a quixotic man who reveres nature’s awful beauty.”
-Kirkus (starred review)

“[An] exceptionally fine novel … Winter brilliantly exposes his subject’s inner life while at the same time revealing Newfoundland and the inhabitants of Brigus to be just as idiosyncratic as the artist who is observing them.”
The Boston Globe


Winter_The Big Why

The Big Why is a critically acclaimed novel is based on the real life artist Rockwell Kent, who fled to Newfoundland from New York in 1914. Due to an atmosphere of intense paranoia and his own irascible personality, Kent is accused of being a spy for the Germans during the First World War, and is deported from the country. Many years later, when he is an old man, he returned to the harsh but beautiful landscape that inspired his early work.


“Think Henry James filtered through James Ellroy.”
The Buffalo News

“Michael Winter gives us boat-loads of insight into the contradictory mind and heart of Rockwell Kent… I highly recommend The Big Why for Winter’s robust style and unusual way of presenting historical fiction.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel

“Winter expertly outlines his protagonist’s psychological nuances, … [and the] dialogue is uniformly trenchant and humorous. Kent’s discussions with his friend and mentor, Gerald, take on the glow of a modern Socratic dialogue or an intellectual improv routine, and Kent’s wife, Kathleen, comes vividly to life. Winter gives us a flesh-and-blood Rockwell Kent.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“[W]onderful… engaging, funny, keenly observed, [and] disarmingly wise… read-again beautiful.”
The Globe and Mail

“The Big Why is the work of a powerful talent, one of the best – and most distinctive – younger writers on the Canadian scene. The novel is a page-turner. . .because of its clarity and richness of its voice.”
Quill & Quire

“[Winter is] a natural writer… he can really grab your attention and make you feel things… Lovely.”
National Post


Publisher:

House of Anansi Press, Canada, Fall 2004

Bloomsbury, US, January 2006

Rattling Books, audio edition, 2007

Awards:

Shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award

Shortlisted for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

Longlisted for the International IMPAC Literary Award

Other Books by Michael Winter