Ok so I'm having my second read of Anthony Winkler's "The Painted Canoe". I saw "Going Home to Teach" and "The Great Yacht Race" neither of which I've read as yet, but I chose "The Painted Canoe". I used the other library card to get "Hop on Pop" from Dr. Suess for the Little Gentleman.
"The Painted Canoe" begins with a point blank description of the unspeakably ugly Zechariah Pelsie. You would think that the description would totally descredit Pelsie and make the reader have no faith at all in him, but it is not so at all. I respect Pelsie and treat him almost as if he's real. For instance, I was telling myself this morning that Pelsie is right; people bother God too much about things they can and should do for themsleves.
Yes, Pelsie is an illiterate, but he is wiser than plenty. In fact, one of the critics who has given kudos to this novel comments that it is an 'exploration of the triumph of folkwisdom over cold scientific criticism'.
I wanted to read something by Winkler because I recently read a review of his reading at Calabash, and I felt like kicking myself for missing only the premiere Literary event in the Caribbean - again. But what can I tell you, there is no way I'm going to tek show off and spend my little much and go down to Senty, and then in the two weeks before payday I'm using my credit card to survive, and be owing Mas Ken my fare. Nope. Next year maybe.
So in this review in the Gleaner, I got a reminder of how intelligent Winkler is. I also found out he is a white dude, not so young anymore, who was often beaten by a black teacher for being of the privileged class in Jamaica. Incidentally, I'd written my last post about Jackass saying the worl nuh level, before I read that newspaper review. Winkler grew up on the privileged side of things, but his behind had the disadvantage of having to face the whip of Mr. Inferiority Complex every week.
I chose to reread "The Painted Canoe" rather than pick something new because I wanted to relive Pelsie stranded out at sea, and Pelsie facing a terminal disease. I needed an antidote to this thread that I had wasted my time reading, and to regain my confidence that some people have an indomitable will to survive, some people construct their own purpose, and all of us, specks that we are, make a footstep in time because we existed. So, as ugly and fool-fool as Pelsie is, he has something inside that drives him to survive even the most daunting odds.
Now Winkler is the master of hilarious, if you don't believe me, see for yourself, here are the first two or so pages from "The Lunatic".