The Big Why
Written by Michael Winter
Introduction by Patrick DeWitt
In 1914, the American artist Rockwell Kent escapes his bustling life in New York City for the quaint, rural town of Brigus, Newfoundland. He has been drawn north by the picturesque landscape of the Atlantic, seeking a simpler, quieter life. Always fascinated and inspired by cold climates, Kent imagines his new home to be a utopia and the perfect place to work on his art and marriage.
Notorious for his flighty relationships with various women and his radical, socialist thinking, the artist’s beliefs and way of life run drastically against those of the community. And on the cusp of the First World War, tensions and suspicions run high; a newcomer could be anyone, including a German spy.
In this fictionalized memoir, Winter explores the life of an artist who was not fully understood or accepted in his time and place. Funny, surprising, and thoroughly honest about our desires and contradictions, The Big Why bares all.
Featuring a new introduction by Patrick deWitt, award-winning author of The Sisters Brothers and Undermajordomo Minor.
Michael Winter is the author of many works of fiction, including The Big Why (winner of the Drummer General’s Award and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award) and This All Happened (winner of the Winterset Award and nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), the short-story collection One Last Good Look, and more recently the novels The Architects are Here and The Death of Donna Whalen. He lives in Toronto.
Patrick deWitt was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of two critically acclaimed novels: Ablutions and The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.