"The Painted Canoe" is the story of a poor, ugly Jamaican fisherman
who falls asleep one night on a fishing trip and wakes up to find his
small craft surrounded by the empty horizon with no land in sight. What
follows is a heartfelt story of his fight for survival against the sea.
His canoe is nearly swamped by a passing freighter; he is stalked, attacked
and bitten by a shark; he nearly goes mad from fear and loneliness but
still he refuses to give up. To kindle his strength, he daydreams about
his wife, his two sons, his dead mother, the pastor of his village church,
the English doctor who runs the government health clinic, revealing a
tapestry of colorful characters.
The book shares a strong intertextuality with Hemighway's 'Old man and
the Sea' but I found it much better than Hemingway's classic. The power
of the book is closely connected to Winkler's outstanding use of imagery
and his character represenation. He achieves to give a great insight into
the life of rural Jamaica of the early 60`s. But it is not only a local
color novel but it is also concerned with some deeply philosophical questions