A Brief History of Seven Killings
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Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize
A recipient of the 2015 American Book Award
One of the Top 10 Books of 2014 – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Named a best book of the year by:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Boston Globe
The Huffington Post
The Seattle Times
The Houston Chronicle
Kansas City Star
From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes a “musical, electric, fantastically profane” (The New York Times) epic that explores the tumultuous world of Jamaica over the past three decades.
In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivaled skills of characterization and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope.
On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins’ fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.
A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents, even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.
Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight.
From the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
A motley crew in Jamaica
A Brief History of Seven Killings is one of the most entertaining stories I've read.It is told from the perspective of multiple characters living in Jamaica, and revolves around the blood feud of two political parties, the CIA,and the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.Marlon James has written a book that is excessively violent(it may be repugnant to some readers),wickedly funny,and ambitious in scope.It is an unforgettable story.
This is a really great book. It is the kind of novel Victor Hugo or Leo Tolstoy would have written had they been born in the late 20th century ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica instead of France or Russia.
It is a challenging book in both length, scope and number of characters. It is also mostly written in the Jamaican patois spoken in Kingston. While one can follow the dialog from context, I would strongly recommend that readers unfamiliar with patois find a glossary which will translate the patois into English. Those glossaries are readily available on the Internet. The extra effort is well worth the time.
While much has been made of the violence in the book none of it is gratuitous or especially grisly. All of it is essential to the story.
Readers willing to accept the challenges this novel presents will be richly rewarded.
Stay clear of this book. It is so horrible. So convoluted. It is as if the author is trying to drain all the interest out of the events he's representing.