cover image Dog War

Dog War

Anthony C. Winkler, . . Akashic, $14.95 (195pp) ISBN 978-1-933354-28-6

An acclaimed comic novelist in his native Jamaica, Winkler (The Lunatic ) makes a long overdue American debut with this laugh riot. His heroine is Precious Higginson, a Christian Jamaican woman of 47 whose conventional worldview and proud, pious manner make her unintentionally funny. After her husband dies unexpectedly, Precious moves in with her son and his wife, but pudding-loving Precious and her health-nut daughter-in-law quickly turn the house into a war zone. It's off to America then to stay with her daughter, a Miami police officer, and her hairdressing husband, Henry, an emasculated "too-too" man who irritates her. After Henry makes a pass, Precious takes a job as live-in housekeeper at a Fort Lauderdale mansion. There, she cares for a spoiled dog, Riccardo; argues with Riccardo's animal rights zealot owner, Mistress Lucy, who declares Precious "speciest" for failing to appreciate it when Riccardo pees on her new shoes; and, after "brief Christian resistance," allows Mannish, Mistress Lucy's much peed-upon Indian chauffeur, into her bed. Precious learns much about the limits of piety as the indignities mount and her beliefs are challenged in increasingly outrageous ways. Winkler's wit, his ear for dialect and the sublime creation that is Precious add up to one howlingly funny book. (June)