(From the publisher):
Michael Winter's The Big Why
takes the tradition of the historical novel and twists it into the cool, sinuous, entertaining shape we've all been waiting for. His characters are real and from the past, but the lives they live feel contemporary and emotionally modern.
Winter's version of the American artist Rockwell Kent is an overaged, erotically feckless Huck Finn ready to leave the superficial art world of New York and light out for the territory. Only he heads the wrong way: north and east to Brigus, Newfoundland, before and at the beginning of the First World War. Once there, his various relationships, especially the sexual ones, turn out to be as rocky as the timeless Atlantic coastline that fascinates and mystifies him. His artistic impulse -- to boldly go where no painter has gone before -- finds its echo in Newfoundland's fabled explorer Bob Bartlett, who uses the wastes of the Arctic as the canvas for his own eccentric ambitions. These two dynamic personalities play off each other in the arena provided by the brilliantly rendered community of Brigus, where everyone knows everyone and any outsider is suspect, possibly even a German spy.
The result: a passionate yet wittily cerebral exploration and celebration of what makes exceptional individuals who they are -- and why.
Original title: The Big Why
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Fictional Biography