The Lunatic

( 4 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Lunatic

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A madman named Aloysius lives alone in the Jamaican bush until a German photojournalist named Inga snaps pic tures of him as he sleeps. She soon moves in with him, and their life to gether is filled with misunderstand ings, violence and much sex. In this tale of erotic fun in the sun, trees and animals are personifiedfor example, when Inga, in a fit of anger, bites a tree trunk, the tree cries in pain. But this fanciful novel also has a political edge: Inga comes to believe that poor Jamai cans should hate those who are rich, and she promotes an uprising. Al though The Lunatic can be read as a comic novel, it also can be considered a warning against both greed and apathy. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933354293
  • Publisher: Akashic Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 799,231
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Winkler was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1942. His first novel, The Painted Canoe, was published in 1984 to critical acclaim. This was followed by The Lunatic (1987), The Great Yacht Race (1992), Going Home to Teach (1995) and The Duppy (1997). A short story collection, The Annihilation of Fish and Other Stories, was published in 2004 by Macmillan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2007

    You'd have to be crazy not to read it

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    I have gone mad with laughter

    Anthony Winkler really brings out the true lunatic in everyone. Through peals and bellows of laughter I read this book many a time- each time bringing the same eruption of laughter from me. Mr. Winkler writes so real that we can easily relate the characters in the story to some people we know in real life. I enjoyed this book so much that I could not resist the urge of renting the movie-which made me erupt with laughter even more. This book is one in a million and I think that owning a copy of it should be on every avid book collectors list. I Give Mr. Winkler all the thumbs up that I can. I would instantly recommend that everybody who is going through some rough times read this book, for it will surely lift the load of their shoulders. I do not hestitate on advising people on reading this gem. This is the laughter pot of them all. Mr. Winkler has surely outdone himself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2002

    TOO FUNNY for words

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great relaxing read

    A funny read.

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