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Michael Winter’s forthcoming novel strikes out in new direction

Michael Winter is a writer who is known for taking chances. Widely praised as a stylistic virtuoso, his last novel, 2010’s The Death of Donna Whalen, blended fact and fiction to tell the story of a notorious St. John’s murder and subsequent miscarriage of justice. Now, Penguin Canada’s prestige fiction imprint, Hamish Hamilton Canada, is set to publish Winter’s new book, which takes even more of a left turn for the author.

Minister Without Portfolio begins in Kabul, Afghanistan, and tells the story of Henry Hayward, an alcoholic drifter who gets embedded with a Canadian forces regiment in the Middle East and finds his life unravelling after a fatal incident during a patrol.

Nicole Winstanley, Penguin Canada’s president and publisher, acquired the novel, and says in a press release that the author has “really broken new ground”:

By exploring our generation’s defining international struggle through an intensely local tragedy, [Winter] forces us to confront the deeply personal effects of war in a fashion in which civilians are rarely afforded…. The plot unfolds like The Deer Hunter in reverse and the story is every bit as emotionally resonant.

Hamish Hamilton Canada plans to publish Minister Without Portfolio in September 2013.