The Big Why

Added April 4, 2012
  • The Big Why
  • Michael Winter
  • House of Anansi Press, Canada, 2004

the-big_-why_-front_-cover_ The Big Why is Michael Winter’s second novel. It was shortlisted for the Trillium Award and the Thomas Head Raddall Award, and it was longlisted for the IMPAC Award.

His debut novel This All Happened won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. In 2008, Winter won the Writer’s Trust Notable Author Award.

The Big Why is a historical novel narrated by real-life American artist Rockwell Kent, describing the time he spent in Brigus, Newfoundland in 1914. Larger-than-life Kent ended up being deported from Canada in 1915 on suspicion of being a Nazi spy. the-big_-why_-signature

Miriam Toews, author of A Complicated Kindness said, “Michael Winter’s writing blows my mind — it’s sharp and hard and beautiful and so completely original. I love thinking about the big why of The Big Why, the profoundly simple central question at the heart of this great novel.”

This signed copy is a true first edition in fine/fine condition. House of Anansi is a small but prestigious Canadian publisher. The first print run of this title would not have been large.

the-big_-why_-copy_ Still, signed copies can be found in fine condition for as low as $25 and as high as $125. The $125 copy is signed, dated in the month of publication, and has a line from the novel written in by Winter.

Dated a year after publication and placed in Toronto, where Winter has lived since 1999, I would price this copy at about $50 today.

Winter has written two more novels since this one, and both came out to great reviews. Of note, all four of his novels are set in Newfoundland.

If Winter continues to write fiction of such high caliber, there is a good chance that the price of his earlier signed works will rise significantly in value.

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