Synopsis

Synopsis
"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 about mankind.