Focusing on the year Kent and his family spent in Brigus, Newfoundland on the eve of the First World War, Winter offers up the private emotions of a man whose outer ambitions betray his inner feelings. Kent vows to be faithful to his wife, to live close to the sea, and document, through paintings and woodcuts, a picturesque land and society. But he also desires everything, including the young woman who cares for their children. His friend, the explorer Bob Bartlett, explains how the artist's beliefs and way of life run drastically against those of this small seafaring community.
Funny, surprising, and thoroughly honest about our desires and contradictions, The Big Why bares all: it is about a man who was not fully understood or accepted in the time and place in which he lived. And it is about how we all try to find our place in the world, to gain wisdom, but in the end must humbly accept the transcendent fallout of our actions.
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.