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The Duppy-What A Way Heaven Sweet.

"One Saturday morning, not very long ago, I dropped dead and turned into a duppy".


In The Duppy, Anthony C. Winkler gives us an uproariously funny take on Heaven and God. After dying unexpectedly, Taddeus Agustus Baps find himself on a journey to heaven via a crowded minibus, through a canepiece and then a culvert. After seeing his maid and gardener remove his money from his wallet, Baps wants to stay behind and teach them a lesson. But is promised greater delights in heaven.


After a very lively journey, Baps arrives in heaven, only to be met with a rock to the head. And far from the pain that you might expect, Baps is overcome with sweet, sweet ecstasy. Upon completing registration, he is unsure of what to do with his time and begins bringing order to Miss B's village shop. Thus begins Baps' integration into heavenly society.


With engaging prose and lots of funny instances, Winkler takes his readers on a unique, utterly Jamaican jaunt through heaven. There is nothing but pure freedom in heaven. One can grind an inordinate amount of times, with whomever one wishes, that is . In fact, Miss B loans Baps out fairly regularly to her friends and customers. At church, when one is moved with the spirit, one can simply reach across and grope whatever body part one wishes (this shocks Baps, who must accede to a compromise with Miss B), even those of the elders.


When Miss B is reborn, Baps is left in charge of her shop and immediately sets about changing how business is done, mirroring his earthly shop practices. He implements a cash-only buying system, introduces restriction on the amount of goods to be bought at any one time, tells his customers to practice fiscal restraint, as well as cooking the account books.


Later, when Baps comes upon a group of American university students stoning God, he decides that he will not stand by and let anyone disrespect the Almighty. This leads to Baps becoming quite interested in discovering why the Americans have a warrant out on God, and seem to dislike him so much, and so a trip to American heaven is undertaken. Baps finds that American heaven is very restrictive, arrivals are heavily screened, regulated and all non-Americans have to behave with the utmost discretion. Throughout his investigation, Baps discovers that what has riled the Americans into a frenzy to arrest God, is so they can implement a very capitalistic heaven. They also want to establish a 'hell', where those deemed as having lived a life of deviancy and violence can be punished accordingly. The fact that God disagrees with this and thus created heaven for everyone, does not sit well with the Americans. In an attempt to make things clear to Baps about what it really takes to be a Creator, God bestows powers upon him that allow him to design a world and creations to oversee for himself. After a century, Baps finally has to admit to himself that to run a world and deal with the problems and batty-kissing of his 'magnum opus', is more than he can take.


The style of writing that Winkler employs here allows the reader to become so engrossed in Baps' adventures and experiences in heaven, that one wants to become a part of this one-of-a-kind cast of characters. It is witty, hilarious and presents a satirical view at prejudices, notions and stereotypes of a post-colonial Jamaica.


#JamaicasLiteraryHeritage

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