The Winter Family

A Novel

Publisher: Vintage Canada

Tracing a gang of ruthless outlaws from its birth during the American Civil War to a final bloody showdown in the Territory of Oklahoma, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir and a full-on assault to the senses.

From the 1860s to the 1880s, the outlaws known as the Winter Family roam the harsh frontier, both serving and battling the fierce advance of civilization. Among its twisted specimens are the psychopathic killer Quentin Ross, the mean and moronic Empire brothers, the impassive ex-slave Fred Johnson, and the gunslinging child prodigy, Lukas Riddle. At the centre of this ultraviolent storm is their cold, dandified and golden-eyed leader, Augustus Winter--a man with a pathological resistance to the rules of society and a preternatural gift for butchery.
     From their political thuggery during a Chicago election to their work as bounty hunters in the deserts of Arizona, Winter and his crew follow a 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, violence and the deep contradictions of progress.

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High summer night in Oklahoma. Warm winds that smelled of apple blossoms. Now and then a lightning bug winked on and drifted through the air. Quentin Ross caught one in his fist and held it there, with its radiance leaking between his fingers and reflecting in his shallow eyes. For a moment he rolled the lightning bug...
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PRAISE FOR

LONGLISTED 2015 – Scotiabank Giller Prize

“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 
 
“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, New York Times bestselling author of Glorious and The Last Gunfight
 
“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 advance guard–the thugs who 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




From the Hardcover edition.