Winkie by Clifford Chase

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In Cliff Chase’s scathingly funny and surprisingly humane debut novel, the zeitgeist assumes the form of a one-foot-tall ursine Everyman — a mild-mannered teddy bear named Winkie who finds himself on the wrong side of America’s war on terror. After suffering decades of neglect from the children who've forgotten him, Winkie summons the courage to take charge of his fate, and so he hops off the shelf, jumps out the window, and takes to the forest. But just as he is discovering the joys and wonders of mobility, Winkie gets trapped in the jaws of a society gone rabid with fear and paranoia. Having come upon the cabin of the mad professor who stole his beloved, Winkie is suddenly surrounded by the FBI, who instantly conclude that he is the evil mastermind behind dozens of terrorist attacks that have been traced to the forest. Terrified and confused, Winkie is brought to trial, where the prosecution attempts to seal the little bear’s fate by interviewing witnesses from the trials of Galileo, Socrates, John Scopes, and Oscar Wilde. Emotionally gripping and intellectually compelling, Winkie exposes the absurdities of our age and explores what it means to be human in an increasingly barbaric world.

About Clifford Chase

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Clifford Chase is the author of The Hurry-Up Song, a memoir of his brother's death, and the editor of Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade. His fiction has appeared in various magazines and literary journals. Winkie is his first novel, and was inspired by the actual Winkie, who was passed down by the author's mother and is now at least eighty years old and quite mangy.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 260 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The courtroom scenes are wildly, brilliantly comic—Winkie is charged with a list of felonies (including “Corrupting the youth of Athens”) that takes more than five hours to read, and he’s saddled with a hapless, stammering lawyer, the appropriately named Charles Unwin.

Apr 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Winkie

Publishers Weekly

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This debut novel from memoirist Chase (The Hurry-up Song ) begins with the capture and wounding by a SWAT team of the eponymous, sentient teddy bear in a backwoods cabin;

Mar 06 2006 | Read Full Review of Winkie

Entertainment Weekly

(If not, might we interest you in some Philip Roth, or perhaps an encyclopedia?) Winkie, after years of neglect, breaks out of the author's childhood home, and heads into the woods where, for a halcyon time, he/she — oh, PS: Winkie is both girl and boy — lives with his/her child, Baby Winkie, ...

Jul 12 2006 | Read Full Review of Winkie

USA Today

It has been only two years since the first serious 9/11 novels appeared, and already this genre-unto-itself has progressed from drama to melodrama to farce.Exhibit A: the most peculiar of all the new terror tales, Clifford Chase's debut novel, Winkie.Winkie is not a teenager plotting to destroy t...

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New York Magazine

Winkie, Clifford Chase’s bizarre first novel, is far more than a one-note indictment of human-rights abuses.

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New York Magazine

It’s easy to imagine critics comparing this book to Kafka’s Trial, but it’s more reminiscent of that great allegorist’s animal stories.

Jul 24 2006 | Read Full Review of Winkie

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