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The Family Mansion

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An illuminating and unflinching novel exploring England’s 19th-century colonization of Jamaica.

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What people are saying…

“The brutalities of Jamaica’s past and the myriad social and cultural contradictions that contributed to it are conveyed with a genuine fondness for this complicated and conflicted place. A surprising, and surprisingly sophisticated, approach to historical fiction.”
Publishers Weekly

“Jamaica-born Winkler opens a door into a cultural period beset by an inhumane system that poisons relationships between whites and blacks.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] powerful and deeply moving tour de force. . . .Winkler submits imperialist dogma and the English aristocracy’s casual acceptance of violence and cruelty to punishing satirical critique. He takes special pleasure in redefining the idea of the ‘English gentleman,’ embodied by his clueless and spoiled protagonist, Hartley Fudges, a terrifically rendered young English aristocrat who gets himself banished to Jamaica after attempting to kill his brother for his inheritance. VERDICT Essential reading for fans of literary fiction.”
Library Journal

The Family Mansion is a little bit story, a little bit rollicking history lesson and a little bit philosophical treatise . . . well written with a tastefully applied zing of humor in just the right places.”
Sacramento Book Review

“A riveting social commentary on British nobility forced onto an undeveloped island, this isn’t Robert Crawley meets Bob Marley circa 1800s—although one could imagine Downton Abbey‘s Maggie Smith uttering a few of the biting and sarcastic lines throughout this humorous page-turner.”
Atlantan Magazine

“Jamaican-born novelist Anthony Winkler’s forthcoming novel, The Family Mansion, conjures up the cruelties of slavery with the author’s trademark irreverence and wit . . . The first two novels of Winkler’s captivating trilogy are rife with hypnotic imagery and fascinating historical asides. They evoke the colonial world with erudition, irony, and complexity, and should be read by anyone interested in the broader implications of empire.”
Brooklyn Rail

The Family Mansion is written with the comic sensibility of Wodehouse and the insightful social comment of Orwell.”
Midwest Book Review

“Winkler may be the best novelist you’ve never heard of. He continues the brilliant, irreverent recasting of Europe’s colonization of Jamaica . . . Winkler tells a story seeped in satire, sex and humor. Another textbook example of fine fiction writing.”
Atlanta Magazine

“In God Carlos and The Family Mansion, Anthony Winkler, the master storyteller, has provided us with texts of both narrative quality and historical substance that should find place in the annals of Caribbean literature.”
SX Salon

“Mr. Winkler has written an amusing, at times satirical novel, while touching on important historical aspects, such as human rights, slavery, and colonization . . . I would recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy historical fiction.”
Turn The Page Reviews

“Set in the 19th century, the Jamaican-born author’s lyrical and engaging novel transports readers to his native country’s sugar cane plantations in the tumultuous years before the abolition of slavery.”
Arts ATL (Included in “Beach reads: a half-dozen best bets for summer from Atlanta authors”)

The Family Mansion is an intensely charming book that is truly laugh-out-loud funny from cover to cover. It is both smart and witty, full of sophisticated surprises, great insights and very unique historical perspectives. It delves heavily into philosophy and really entertains. This is not the type of novel with which you will easily get bored. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys wonderful writing, great humor, or human interest stories.”
Book Reporter

“It’s a special kind of happiness, when the first bits of a novel deliver a thrill, and The Family Mansion by Anthony C. Winkler does just that.”
The Denver Post

“Winkler proves his salt, daring to weave slices of British and Jamaican history, and slavery’s savagery on to a blaring tale that already stood on its own. He picks his spots. His timing is meticulous, narrating a history of woe with an effortless joie de vivre.”
The Gleaner (Jamaica)

“Highly recommended, especially if you want to read some historical fiction that doesn’t feature corset-bound women swooning and jumped-up wankers twatting around on horses and smoking cigars. A refreshing read.”
BookCunt

“Witty, humorous, and full of interesting predicaments, this is a wonderful human interest story.”
Historical Novel Review

“A complicated character study and darkly comedic look at early 19th-century plantation life.”
Historical Novel Society

“In The Family Mansion, Anthony C. Winkler continues his exploration begun in God Carlos of Europe’s colonization of Jamaica; whereas the latter focused on the brutality of the sixteenth-century Spanish invaders, this new (and surprisingly adventurous) novel sets its sights on the ravages of the more ‘dignified’ British conquistadors. Bringing history to life via the quixotic character of Hartley Fudges is an impressive enough feat, but it is Winkler’s uncanny ability to add uproarious humor to this shameful history that sets The Family Mansion apart from the standard fare of historical fiction.”
Colin Channer, author of The Girl with the Golden Shoes

“With Hartley’s point of view as its primary focus, the narrative transports readers to exotic lands, simultaneously exploring the brutality of England’s slavery-based colonization.”
Celticlady’s Reviews

Praise for Anthony C. Winkler:

“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.”
The Independent (UK)

“Every country (if she’s lucky) gets the Mark Twain she deserves, and Winkler is ours, bristling with savage Jamaican wit and heart-stopping compassion.”
Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women

“Winkler has a fine ear for patois and dialogue, and a love of language that makes bawdy jokes crackle.”
New Yorker

“Readers are transported along 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. Comic, tragic, bawdy, sad, and provocative, this is a thoroughly engaging adventure story from renowned Jamaican author Winkler, sure to enchant readers who treasure a fabulous tale exquisitely rendered.”
Library Journal, on God Carlos

“Winkler’s achievement here is not that he remakes himself as a historical writer, but that he remakes history.”
—Kei Miller, author of The Last Warner Woman, on God Carlos


Description

Click here to read an interview with Anthony C. Winkler, conducted by Delhi Noir editor Hirsh Sawhney.

The Family Mansion is a historical novel that tells the story of Hartley Fudges, whose personal destiny unfolds against the backdrop of 19th-century British culture, a time when English society was based upon the strictest subordination and stratification of the classes. As the second son of a hereditary duke and his father’s favorite, Hartley, under different circumstances, might have inherited the inside track to his father’s estate and titles. But the English law of succession was rigidly dictated by the principle of male primogeniture, with all the property, assets, titles, and debts devolving to the firstborn son and his issue, leaving nothing for the other sons.

Like many second sons, Hartley decides to migrate to Jamaica at the age of twenty-three. This at first seems sensible: in the early 1800s Jamaica was far and away the richest and most opulent of all the crown colonies, and the single greatest producer of sugar in the world. But for all its fabulous wealth, Jamaica was a difficult and inhospitable place for an immigrant. The mortality rate for new immigrants was over 50% for the first year of residence. Some immigrant groups fared even worse. The island’s white population that ran the lucrative sugarcane industry was outnumbered 10-to-1 by the largely enslaved black population. Slave revolts were common with brutal reprisals such as the decapitation of ringleaders and nailing the severed heads to trees.

The complex saga of Hartley’s life is revealed in vivid scenes that depict the vicissitudes of 19th-century English and Jamaican societies. Aside from violent slave revolts, newcomers had to survive the nemesis of the white man in the tropics—namely, yellow fever. With Hartley’s point of view as its primary focus, the narrative transports readers to exotic lands, simultaneously exploring the brutality of England’s slavery-based colonization.

Click here to listen to an interview with Anthony C. Winkler on WBAI’s Cat Radio Café with Janet Coleman.

Click here to read about The Family Mansion in Tallawah Magazine.

Jamaica loves Anthony C. Winkler! Watch below to find out why:


Book Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Published: 5/7/13
  • IBSN: 9781617751660
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751745

Author

ANTHONY C. WINKLER was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1942 and is widely recognized as one of the island’s finest exports. After being expelled from Cornwall College for refusing to submit to corporal punishment (which entailed being beaten with a cane), he eventually made his way to California where he attended Citrus College and California State University, earning a BA and MA in English. His first published novel, The Painted Canoe (1984), received critical acclaim and was followed by The Lunatic (1987), The Great Yacht Race (1992), The Duppy (1997), Crocodile (2009), Dog War (2007), God Carlos (2012), and The Family Mansion, among others. Trust the Darkness: My Life as a Writer, his autobiography, was published in 2008. His writing credits also include film scripts and plays. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Cathy.

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