Minister Without Portfolio

Minister Without Portfolio

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
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Henry Hayward has been living life the way he's wanted--working hard, playing hard--but when his girlfriend tells him she's leaving, it destroys him. In a quest to recover, he joins an army-affiliated contracting crew that takes him overseas to a Canadian base in Afghanistan. In the company of friends, he begins to mend: having laughs and being rebellious, blithely unaware of all he's left behind. But everything changes during a roadside incursion when a routine patrol turns fatal. And Henry, who survives, knows in his heart that he is responsible.

Upon returning home, tormented by guilt, he resolves to take care of the people and places around him: Martha Groves, whose boyfriend was killed in Afghanistan; his friends and neighbours; and a summer home that needs revitalizing. Henry tries his best to seek roots after a rootless life, collecting around himself a "community of a hundred people" for whom he cares deeply and is responsible. But he hasn't factored in family history and social infidelity--and Martha has a revelation of her own that may change everything.

Minister Without Portfolio illuminates the power and violence of self-creation. It asks: To whom are we beholden? Who do we adopt--and who couldn't we live without? It is an emotionally affecting work, filled with truths about the frailties and miracles of human nature, by a writer of exceptional talent.

Publisher: Toronto :, Hamish Hamilton,, 2013.
ISBN: 9780143189411
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rda

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t
talktimereader
Aug 27, 2016

I love Newfoundland and enjoyed this story of the histories, struggles and relationships that may lie behind the ice bergs. I found the writing style unique and interesting, like so much on the Rock. Loved this first book and encourage more.

Persevere until Henry settles into his town in NFLD. Initially the plot is jerky and does not make for easy reading. Overall I think this book was written for GenX men. After several traumas, Henry finally becomes the modern man who can express his emotions to women, become a modern dad to take care of young Tender and get on with his life.

r
ritarufus
Jun 20, 2016

It was interesting but maybe I missed the big picture. I got bored at times but enjoyed his journey of going back to a simple life and living a minimalist life style. Didn't really get the relationship with Tenders girlfriend. Good book to discuss with someone to get better insight into book

GSPLmandy Mar 16, 2016

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It took me a some time to get used to Michael Winter's style of writing, and his rhythm, but once I did I was completely enthralled by the story.

d
dirtbag
Mar 10, 2016

I felt sympathy for the central character and his somewhat haphazard life. Life happens to him, he never seems to be in control of anything and that is easy to identify with but there is something about the writing and editing that excludes the average reader. I kept thinking that I would understand the book better if I was from down east and preferably from Newfoundland. I still liked it.

s
steve77
Jan 27, 2016

Shortlist for Canada Reads 2016

I have to agree with wyenotgo. I feel it is a haphazard wandering of little bits heard from real life like the incinerator story and put together to not mean much. I thought it could be so much more.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 27, 2015

Sorry, Mr. Winter but your sloppy writing just doesn't cut it. You may have had a story to tell -- certainly the central premise of a civilian contractor getting in the middle of a fatal attack in Afghanistan is timely enough; and that, combined with a man disappointed in love finding a new reason to go on could have developed into a compelling narrative. Your settings also had great promise: the austere beauty of Newfoundland, the unhealthy, dangerous environment of Afghanistan, the gritty, non-stop work routine of Fort McMurray. Henry could have developed into a central character that I as a reader would come to care about. But none of that happened. Your haphazard thought stream, meaningless phrases that didn't go anywhere or have anything to do with the topic or situation at hand, never mind a total disregard for coherent punctuation -- all that got in the way.
Your editors let you get away with all those bad writing habits and in so doing, they let you down.

smc01 Oct 15, 2014

This is the first of Michael Winter's books that I have read. I am a new fan. His writing is beautiful. I loved the characters in this book and his evocation of place.

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