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The Winter Family: A Novel (Hardcover)

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    A Globe & Mail Top 100 Book of 2015
    Longlisted for The 2015 Giller Prize
    A Finalist for the Governor General's Literary Prize


    "Sadistic but mesmerizing..."

    -- The New York Times Book Review

    Tracing a group of ruthless outlaws from its genesis during the American Civil War all the way to a final bloody stand in the Oklahoma territories, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir that reads like a full-on assault to the senses.
     

              Spanning the better part of three decades, The Winter Family traverses America's harsh, untamed terrain, both serving and opposing the fierce advance of civilization. Among its twisted specimens, the Winter Family includes the psychopathic killer Quentin Ross, the mean and moronic Empire brothers, the impassive ex-slave Fred Johnson, and the dangerous child prodigy Lukas Shakespeare But at the malevolent center of this ultraviolent storm is their cold, hardened leader, Augustus Winter—a man with an almost pathological resistance to the rules of society and a preternatural gift for butchery. 
         From their service as political thugs in a brutal Chicago election to their work as bounty hunters in the deserts of Arizona, there's a hypnotic logic to Winter's grim borderland morality that plays out, time and again, in ruthless carnage.
         With its haunting, hard-edged style, The Winter Family is a feverishly paced meditation on human nature and the dark contradictions of progress.

    About the Author


    CLIFFORD JACKMAN received a Bachelor of Arts from York University, a Master of Arts from Queen's University, and a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. He practices law in Richmond Hill.

    Praise For…


    Globe & Mail Top 100 Book of 2015
    Longlisted for The 2015 Giller Prize
    A Finalist for the Governor General's Literary Prize


    "Sadistic but mesmerizing..."

    -- The New York Times Book Revieww


    "Clifford Jackman uses the adventures of a gleefully nihilistic group of outlaws to tell the story of 'civilization’s' implacable march westward.  The members of The Winter Family are the advanced guard—the thugs that more refined and powerful men send out to batter the world into submission.  They burn Georgia for Sherman; they fix an election in Chicago for the young Republican Party; they clear Oklahoma of inconvenient natives for rapacious land barons.  If Sam Peckinpah had been a novelist rather than a filmmaker, this is the book he would’ve written: brutal, at times darkly funny, and utterly gripping from the first page to the last.
     --Scott Smith, New York Times bestselling author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins


    “Clifford Jackman's novel somehow manages to be both traditional and eerily unique. Think of it as a combination of High Noon and The Shining.
    -- Jeff Guinn, bestselling author of Glorious and The Last Gun Fight


    “The Winter Family is both calculating and poetic and holds you with a compelling brutality from which it is impossible to turn away.” 
    -- Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mysteries the basis of the hit drama series Longmire


    "Brutal. Nihilistic. Extreme. Clifford Jackman's debut, The Winter Family, lit my synapses up like a pinball machine. I joined golden-eyed Augustus Winter and his band of merry sociopaths on their journey through the dying West, civilization squeezing in from every angle—this is a raw, blood-splattered picaresque that I enjoyed immensely. Jackman throws nine kinds of hell at you in this book, unloading with both barrels, and never lets up the intensity."
    -- Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City


    “A taut Western for those already missing the TV show ‘Justified’…. Westerns are enjoying some of their most substantial works in years and Jackman's book has earned pre-release acclaim from all the industry gate keepers…”
    -- Huffington Post, A BookFilter Top Pick


    “Four years ago I had the morbid delight of... reviewing Patrick DeWitt’s The Sister’s Brothers…[I] thought it would never be topped. Wrong! Into my life came Clifford Jackman’s The Winter Family....This is a high-octane novel....The kind of novel that you would expect from Sam Peckinpah or Quentin Tarantino, blood-drenched but allegorical. It is a rampage around the American west through the eyes of a Canadian, which makes this one very special.” 
    -- Sun Times


    "This noir Western is a violent rampage through the American West. Canadian author Jackman is a deft hand when describing the world, both physical and social, that the gang moves through... Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian and James Carlos Blake’s In the Rogue Blood will appreciate this latest entry in the gritty Western genre."
    -- Library Journal


    “…If [The Winter Family] is any indication, the coming western boom is going to be good. Bloody good…[Jackman] describes how society’s rules might make us yearn for a less regimented time. But is that real freedom? …Jackman is the perfect guide for that kind of exploration. Not only in terms of style – tight, propulsive sentences, with just the right amount of poetry – but also by training. As a practicing lawyer he knows a thing about lawlessness. Or maybe that’s reading too much into his story. Better to read the story he wrote. It’s a good one. Violent, thrilling and beautiful.”
    -- Sharp Magazine 


    "Jackman’s novel is a blood-soaked historical western covering over three decades of mayhem, from the Civil War to 1900 Los Angeles. There are no good guys here, just killers, thieves, liars, crooks of every stripe, and piles of victims—killed in numerous ways… The strength of the story is Jackman’s vivid portrayal of men who choose violence and lawlessness as their way of life, and the justifications they create to rationalize their immoral behavior. This is a chilling tale. "
    -- Publisher's Weekly


    "Jackman writes well, with great atmosphere...The hard realism and violence, combined with the evocative prose, will intrigue readers of Cormac McCarthy and James Lee Burke."
    -- Booklist


    "In Jackman's allegorical Western tale, Augustus Winter, with "the strength of will, the sense of purpose, radiating off him like heat," is cut from the same bloody cloth as Blood Meridian's mysterious nihilist, Judge Holden… Add St. Augustine, Hobbes, scalp-hunting and, yes, waterboarding, and it's evident that the unrelenting violence is symbolic of Jackman's belief that "every society has at its core an animating myth, a guiding narrative, a shared lens through which to view the world"—and here, it's persuasion by Spencer rifle. Bloodletting as philosophical exercise, and not for the faint of heart."
    -- Kirkus Review



    “Jackman’s expansive novel tries to explain how America changed between the Civil War and the end of the West. Although it is difficult to have any sympathy for the characters, Jackman builds a great deal of sympathy for the human race, at once ignoble and sublime… If you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy and the new era of Western novel, you will enjoy The Winter Family.”
    -- Muskogee Pheonix
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780385539487
    ISBN-10: 0385539487
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Publication Date: April 14th, 2015
    Pages: 352
    Language: English