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The Lunatic [Paperback]

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Item description for The Lunatic by Anthony C. Winkler...

In this outrageously out-of-order, hilarious novel, the reader discovers that lunacy is by no means restricted to the village madman, and that goodness and forgiveness may be rarer qualities, found in unexpected places.

Aloysius is tolerated by neighbors but forced to eke out a living by doing odd jobs, using the hospitable woodlands for shelter. He is starved of human companionship; instead he has running conversations with trees and plants. Then love, or a peculiar version of it, comes to Aloysius in the form of a solidly built German lady, Inga Schmidt, who has come to Jamaica to photograph the flora and fauna.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   245
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2007
Publisher   Akashic Books
ISBN  1933354291  
ISBN13  9781933354293  

Availability  3 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 12:23.
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More About Anthony C. Winkler

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Born February 25, 1942, in Kingston, Jamaica West Indies, Anthony C. Winkler was educated in Jamaica at Excelsior College, Mount Alvernia Academy, and Cornwall College, the last two being in Montego Bay. He was also educated in the United States at Citrus Community College, Glendora, California (AA degree 1965). Winkler taught briefly at Pasadena City College and for a year at Moneague Teachers College in Saint Anne, Jamaica, an experience chronicled in GOING HOME TO TEACH (1995). From 1968 to 1975 Winkler had a sales territory as a bookman, covering Southern California, Las Vegas, and Utah for Appleton Century Crofts textbook publishers, and later Southern California and Arizona for Scott, Foresman. In 1969 he decided he could write textbooks as well as anyone and through a chance meeting with the sales representative of another company, he submitted the manuscript POETRY AS SYSTEM and was offered a contract for its publication. Eventually, he met Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell and the two became textbook writers and collaborators. Over the years they have produced more than a dozen textbooks, most on rhetoric and writing, which have survived through multiple editions. In 1975 Winkler quit his job as a bookman and became a full-time freelance writer. In addition to his textbooks, his body of work includes the following: THE PAINTED CANOE (novel 1983); THE LUNATIC (novel 1987); THE GREAT YACHT RACE (novel 1992); GOING HOME TO TEACH (autobiography 1995); THE DUPPY (novel 1997); THE ANNIHILATION OF FISH AND OTHER STORIES (short story collection 2004); DOG WAR (novel 2006); TRUST THE DARKNESS: MY LIFE AS A WRITER (autobiography 2008); THE HIPPOPOTAMUS CARD (play, produced by WDR German radio network); THE BURGLARY (play. premiered in Toronto July 7, 2005); THE LUNATIC (movie, filmed in 1991); THE ANNIHILATION OF FISH (movie, 1999); and BOB MARLEY, AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT BY HIS MOTHER (biography, 1996, with Cedella Booker, Marley's mother).

Anthony C. Winkler currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Comic
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary

Reviews - What do customers think about The Lunatic?

You'd have to be crazy not to read it  Jun 28, 2007
I had never heard of Anthony C. Winkler before receiving information from Akashic Books that they were republishing his 1980s comic novel, The Lunatic. But I've seen interesting titles from the house before, so asked for a review copy - and I'm delighted that I did.

The story concerns a Aloysius, a Jamaican madman who claims a thousand names, who talks to trees, bushes, and rocks and lives alone in the open forests. He eventually meets a German tourist who sees the world through the lens of a camera and sex. They improbably become lovers, eventually add a third - a butcher - and go through a series of experiences and situations, culminating in the robbery of a rich man's house.

I've seen references to Winkler as Jamaica's Mark Twain. His humor manages to be both earthy - the running comments about sex and how it dominates life are funny in a way I find little sexual humor to be - and cerebral at the same time. But the humor isn't something to be enjoyed for its own sake. Winkler uses smiles and laughs as tools to further both the story and the ideas behind it. He deftly starts blending the worlds of the sane and the mad until they mingle, and suddenly he shows how much of modern society really is crazy, and how basic decency is too often viewed as a type of insanity. But that quality really is redemptive.

Winkler's use of symbolism is smooth and deep. The thousand names theme, for example, brings an association with the Hindi concept of the thousand names of God, each of which describe an aspect of the deity. The list of words - Aloysius Gossamer Longshoreman Technocracy Predominate Involuted ... and so on - actually read like a list of attributes of life and of people. They were all names he heard, sneaking outside a classroom because he had a desire to learn something. Aloysius isn't a deity, yet he seems to walk with God. Instead of seeing the change in him, we see the changes he works, just by his presence, in all around him. He calls forth mercy, a connection to the world, and true love.

Winkler is also a master of language. The book's pacing is smart - fast but not driven - and his use of dialect leaves the characters, and eventually the narration, ringing in your mind. Well, at least mine.

I'd strongly recommend this book for a pleasure read that lets something more substantial sneak up on you.
William Faulkner of the West Indies  Jun 28, 2007
If you love things Jamaican, but have not savored this book, you have cheated yourself. Just as Faulkner showed his love and respect for the people of his South in his writings, the same feeling comes through in Anthony Winkler's portrayals of the people both common and not in Jamaica. In their own language, they tell their own tale in their own words, Jamaican patois, Labrish. Winkler's ear for speech makes me feel I am back a yaard in JA listening over a wall. The Lunatic himself is a Zen master conversing with a bush not burning. The tale is humorous like Faulkner's Snopes' stories, but the characters reveal their humanity and dignity, or lack therof, without being patronized. Their struggles reflect the grand drama of Life, an existential comedy. And it is uproariously funny, Mon!
Slapstick social commentary  May 8, 2006
This book presents typically serious issues such as racism, morals, and social inequalities in a comedic way. The main character nonchalantly converses with trees, bushes, even a rock. Under the guise of a slapstick comedy novel, Winkler is presenting a social commentary that is very relevant. I laughed out loud throughout the book, but at the same time, I felt that I was given a new point of view on many issues. This is a truly unique book, with the language making the reading a little more challenging, but a lot more fun. I've never been to Jamaica, but I lived in Hawaii, and the language is a bit similar. It's great to see a slang language in print. A great read, and definitely worth the time!
great read, but fades away in the end  Dec 2, 2005
i was recommended this book by an outside source. The language was a little difficult for me, but fear not, if you aren't familiar with patois, then you can still read this book without too much effort. A very good story, but, unfortunately, it loses most if not all of its energy in the second half of the book. Also, if I read the phrase pum-pum one more time, i will lose my mind. try the duppy if you are new to mr. winkler's work.
Too funny for words - you must read for yourself  Feb 24, 2002
This is undoubtedly the funniest book I have ever read. 10 years ago in my college dorm through peals of laughter, which had everyone thinking I had gone mad - as mad as Aloysius - I read this tale in 24 hours. Since then I have reread the book several times and given copies as gifts for a variety of occasions. Each time, the response of belly ripping laughter has been the same.

This is a true depiction of the quintessential Jamaican rural mad man. Those of us who grew up in rural Jamaica know an Aloysius. The theme might seem like a simple silly Jamaican comedy, but the writing style is eloquent and easy. Tony does not skip a beat.

I have two criticisms; the first is that we end on an anti-climax as if the writer ran out of ideas or he became tired of writing. Therefore I felt that the tale ended too abruptly. Then again, this feeling could also be due to my desire to have this story go on and on. My second criticism is that I sensed a touch of Condescension by the narattor to ordinary poor country folk. In the Jamaican context, the church going old woman who slept with the mad man would hardly have done such a thing. But then again this is fiction. I guees the problem for me is that when fiction mimics real life so closely, one wants consistency throughout. Nevertheless, I give this five stars - and more - every time I read it.

Also recommended: Slip Stream, by Rachel Manley, Orange Laughter, by Leone Ross, Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams.


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