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God Carlos
Cover of God Carlos
God Carlos
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This tragicomic novel set in sixteenth-century Jamaica is a "gusty, boisterous, [and] entertaining . . . slice of historical fiction" (Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered).

Winner of the 2014 Townsend Prize for Fiction

A fortune-seeking band of ragtag sailors travel aboard the Santa Inez, a Spanish vessel bound for the newly discovered West Indies. She is an unusual explorer for her day, carrying no provisions for the settlers and no seed for planting crops, and manned by vain, arrogant men looking for gold in Jamaica.

The crew expects to make landfall in paradise after over a month at sea. Meanwhile, the timid, innocent Arawaks—who walk around stark naked without embarrassment and who venerate their own customs and worship their own gods—think these newcomers must have come from heaven. The ensuing entanglement of culture, custom, and beliefs makes for a "comic, tragic, bawdy, sad, and provocative" novel (Library Journal).

"Darkly irreverent . . . With a sharp tongue, Winkler, a native of Jamaica, deftly imbues this blackly funny satire with an exposé of colonialism's avarice and futility." —Publishers Weekly

"Well-written . . . Winkler's descriptions of sea and sky as seen from a sailing ship, and of the physical beauty of Jamaica, are spot-on and breathtaking." —Historical Novel Review

"A thoroughly engaging adventure story from a renowned Jamaican author, sure to enchant readers who treasure a fabulous tale exquisitely rendered." —Library Journal

"Every country (if she's lucky) gets the Mark Twain she deserves, and Winkler is ours." —Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

This tragicomic novel set in sixteenth-century Jamaica is a "gusty, boisterous, [and] entertaining . . . slice of historical fiction" (Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered).

Winner of the 2014 Townsend Prize for Fiction

A fortune-seeking band of ragtag sailors travel aboard the Santa Inez, a Spanish vessel bound for the newly discovered West Indies. She is an unusual explorer for her day, carrying no provisions for the settlers and no seed for planting crops, and manned by vain, arrogant men looking for gold in Jamaica.

The crew expects to make landfall in paradise after over a month at sea. Meanwhile, the timid, innocent Arawaks—who walk around stark naked without embarrassment and who venerate their own customs and worship their own gods—think these newcomers must have come from heaven. The ensuing entanglement of culture, custom, and beliefs makes for a "comic, tragic, bawdy, sad, and provocative" novel (Library Journal).

"Darkly irreverent . . . With a sharp tongue, Winkler, a native of Jamaica, deftly imbues this blackly funny satire with an exposé of colonialism's avarice and futility." —Publishers Weekly

"Well-written . . . Winkler's descriptions of sea and sky as seen from a sailing ship, and of the physical beauty of Jamaica, are spot-on and breathtaking." —Historical Novel Review

"A thoroughly engaging adventure story from a renowned Jamaican author, sure to enchant readers who treasure a fabulous tale exquisitely rendered." —Library Journal

"Every country (if she's lucky) gets the Mark Twain she deserves, and Winkler is ours." —Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

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About the Author-
  • Anthony C. Winkler was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1942 and is widely recognized as one of the island's finest and most hilarious exports. His first novel, The Painted Canoe, was published in 1984 to critical acclaim. This was followed by The Lunatic (1987; Akashic Books, 2007), which was turned into a feature film, then The Great Yacht Race (1992), Going Home to Teach (1995), The Duppy (1997), Dog War (2007), and God Carlos (2012). He lives with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 3, 2012
    The protagonist of Winkler's darkly irreverent new novel (after Dog War) is a 16th-century Spanish sailor named Carlos, cursed with a "misshapen" face, "gnomic" features, and a "voracious appetite for slaughter." Despite his physical and intellectual shortcomings, the "instinctively submissive" Carlos has long entertained a "dream of being godlike." An opportunity to fulfill his heretical fantasy arises when he is offered passage on the Santa Inez, a ship bound for Jamaica, where, a fellow sailor informs him, the natives "were exceedingly friendly with their visitors from overseas, whom they regarded as gods." Once the ship arrives, "unannounced like a thief," the "merciless" crewmembers slay the native Arawak men and rape the women, yet Carlos nevertheless manages to find a believer in the young, impressionable, Orocobix, who kneels before "God Carlos," and watches as his idol engages in many of the same activities as his countrymen, "such as eating, sleeping, and relieving themselves." Though the sailor revels in his newfound deism, one devotee may not be enough to save Carlos from the consequences of his vanity. With a sharp tongue, Winkler, a native of Jamaica, deftly imbues this blackly funny satire with an exposé of colonialism's avarice and futility.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2012

    Bound for the West Indies, the Santa Inez crew sets off in much the same direction as their predecessor, Christopher Columbus. The ragtag group of arrogant men aboard her head for the New World for little reason beyond personal gain and glory, with no intention of colonizing and showing no regard for the rights or concerns of the peaceful Arawak native settlers they encounter when they arrive. Readers are transported along with them to Jamaica, into Winkler's richly invented 16th century, where his flawless prose paints their slice of time, in turn both brutally graphic and lyrically gorgeous. VERDICT Comic, tragic, bawdy, sad, and provocative, this is a thoroughly engaging adventure story from renowned Jamaican author Winkler (The Guppy), sure to enchant readers who treasure a fabulous tale exquisitely rendered.--Joyce J. Townsend, Pittsburg, CA

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kei Miller, author of The Last Warner Woman

    "Set in the sixteenth century, Winkler's latest novel is something like Heart of Darkness meets Animal Farm. But what happens when Jamaica's most flamboyantly irreverent and fiercely contemporary novelist tackles the past? Why, the past becomes flamboyantly irreverent and fiercely contemporary. Winkler's achievement here is not that he remakes himself as a historical writer, but that he remakes history."

  • Robert Antoni, author of Carnival "Winkler is renowned in the West Indies for his comic genius. In God Carlos, he undertakes the formidable task of imagining the region's damaged history--unwritten and seemingly unreachable--with such ease and insight that we find ourselves transported to sixteenth-century Jamaica, as we watch the story unfold before our eyes."
  • Jaime Manrique, author of Cervantes Street "A vivid and powerful account of the tragedy unleashed upon the native peoples of the Caribbean in the years following the arrival of Christopher Columbus."
  • The Independent (UK) "Winkler never glosses over Jamaican deprivation, prejudice, and violence, yet the love of language--and the language of love--somehow conquers all. It's almost as if P.G. Wodehouse had strolled into the world of Bob Marley...Winkler's fiction magics the island into a place of rough-edged enchantment."
  • Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women "Every country (if she's lucky) gets the Mark Twain she deserves, and Winkler is ours."
  • Robert Antoni, author of Carnival "Winkler has a fine ear for patois and dialogue, and a love of language that makes bawdy jokes crackle."
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    Akashic Books (Ignition)
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Anthony C. Winkler
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