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By Michael Winter

“A moody and affecting novel…conjures a potent sensation of disquiet out of the grim details of an actual tragedy.”
Quill & Quire

 “…[A] brave work that showcases a stylist playing to his strengths…”
The Walrus


Winter_The Death of Donna Whalen

In her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland Donna Whalen was stabbed 31 times. Her friends, family, and neighbours believed it was her abusive boyfriend Sheldon Troke. But the evidence is all circumstantial, providing a daunting challenge for police and prosecutors — and the course of justice takes many unpredictable twists and turns before the truth is finally revealed.

In this mesmerizing work of documentary fiction, based on the controversial real life case, which continues to stir passionate feelings, Michael Winter pieces together the transcripts and court testimonies of Sheldon’s trial. He preserves the nuanced voice of each witness and the result is a harsh account of the tragedy that befell Donna Whalen and the controversial aftermath that tore her town apart.

‘It’s a bold approach from top to bottom. For a fabulist of Winter’s gifts, it shows amazing faith in the power of story itself, the sheer ability of raw human character to transfix us. In stepping back from centre stage and turning the spotlight entirely on this devastating array of intersecting lives and deaths, Winter has enacted some of the most powerful storytelling of his career.”
The Globe and Mail  

“Winter has produced one of the best documentary accounts of a Canadian crime ever written.”
-Richard Helm, Edmonton Journal

“[g]ripping and intensely moving…”
National Post

Michael Winter has turned the very real facts of a St. John’s murder trial into a compelling work of fiction… With the source material as a given, the selection, arrangement and editing become all-important. Winter has done an exemplary job in this regard, orchestrating the various speakers into a tragic chorus over the short unhappy life of Donna Whalen.”
-Toronto Star



Penguin Canada, Fall 2010


Finalist for the 2010 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

A Quill & Quire Book of the Year 2010

Globe 100 Best Book 2010

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize nominee

Finalist for the 2011 Trillium Book Award for fiction

Other Books by Michael Winter