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A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel by [James, Marlon]
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3.7 out of 5 stars 544 customer reviews

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Length: 688 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: This is a book that I did not expect to enjoy. Having finished it—and feeling, as I do now, that A Brief History of Seven Killings is one of the best books I’ve read all year—I went back and identified the reasons why I did not expect to like it. Reason #1— The story is an oral history told in multiple voices: that’s true, but James’ enormous talent makes the multiple voices work. Reading the novel is an immersive experience—the characters are real, they are engaging, and James uses them to look at all sides of the story. Yes, the multiple points-of-view are difficult at first, but each voice quickly distinguishes itself as unique and important; the payoff is a novel of sweeping scope and emotion. Reason #2—Many of the characters speak in Jamaican patois: like many readers, I’m not a big fan of dialect on the page. Tell me what they say, not necessarily how they say it. But James pulls it off with remarkable ease. I expected the patois to start to grate once I got further into the book. It never did. The language only added to my understanding of the story and its characters. Reason #3—Violence: this is not an easy book, particularly when it comes to violence. It starts early, and there’s a lot of it (certainly more than seven killings). But it’s there for a reason. By showing the violence, the poverty, and the struggle to survive in 70s Jamaica, James illustrates how the ghetto can change a person. Over time, we see how every man and woman is changed. Reason #4 –It’s about Jamaica: I hesitate to admit that I wasn’t initially interested in a book set in Jamaica. Am I just not interested in a world so different from mine? Whatever the underlying reason, I was wrong to think that way. I could take the easy route and say that this novel is about something more than Jamaica, but that seems obvious. All I can say is: these people were real to me. And like all great novels, James’ work drew me in, entertained me, and changed me in ways I could not have anticipated. –Chris Schluep

Review

Praise for "The Book of Night Women"

"James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable--even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an undeniable success."
--"The New York Times Book Review"

"The narrative voice is so assured and the descriptions so detailed and believable that one can't help being engaged. This is a book to love . . . and it deserves to be read."
--"Chicago Tribune"

""The Book of Night Women" is not merely a historical novel. . . . It is a canticle of love and hate."
--"Los Angeles Times"

"A very nearly perfect work: an exquisite blend of form and content."
--"Toronto Globe and Mail"


""A Brief History of Seven Killings" is an amazing novel of power, corruption and lies. I can't think of a better one I've read this century."
- Irvine Welsh, author of "Trainspotting"
"There's a crowd of brilliant young Americo-Caribbean writers coming to the table these days, and Marlon James is not just among the best of them, he's among the best of all the young writers, period. He knows whereof he speaks, and he speaks with power and clarity. This novel cracks open a world that needs to be known. It has epic reach and achieves it. It's scary and lyrically beautiful - you'll want to read whole pages aloud to strangers."
--Russell Banks
""A Brief History of Seven Killings" is a masterpiece. Hinged around the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley in Kingston, this massive poetic novel is a gripping, riveting read. Intuitively original, deeply erudite and intelligent, told from multiple points of view, it unravels the lethal world of mid-1970s Jamaican politics and its decades-long consequences in the deadly yardie world of crack-dealing. Magnificent."
--Chris Salewicz, author of "Bob Marley: The Untold Story"
"Upon finishing, the reader will have completed an indispensable and essential history of Jamaica's troubled years. This novel should be required reading."
--"Publishers Weekly "(starred review)
"Stunning... A brilliant novel, highly recommended; one of those big, rich, magisterial works that lets us into a world we really don't know."
--"Library Journal "(starred review)
"James is masterful at inhabiting a variety of voices and dialects, and he writes unflinchingly about the violence, drug-fueled and coldblooded, that runs through [Jamaica's] ghettos...James' fiction thus far is forming a remarkable portrait of Jamaica in the 19th and 20th centuries."
--"Kirkus Reviews "
Praise for "The Book of Night Women"
"James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable--even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an undeniable success."
--"The New York Times Book Review"
"The narrative voice is so assured and the descriptions so detailed and believable that one can't help being engaged. This is a book to love . . . and it deserves to be read."
--"Chicago Tribune"
""The Book of Night Women" is not merely a historical novel. . . . It is a canticle of love and hate."
--"Los Angeles Times"
"A very nearly perfect work: an exquisite blend of form and content."
--"The Globe and Mail"

"[Marlon James] is a virtuoso ...[the novel""is] an epic of postcolonial fallout, in Jamaica and elsewhere, and America's participation in that history. ...the book is not only persuasive but tragic, though in its polyphony and scope it's more than that....It makes its own kind of music, not like Marley's, but like the tumult he couldn't stop."
--"New York Times Book Review"
"Nothing short of awe-inspiring."
--"Entertainment Weekly"
"How to describe Marlon James's monumental new novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings"? It's like a Tarantino remake of "The Harder They Come" but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja. It's epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It's also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting--a testament to Mr. James's vaulting ambition and prodigious talent."
--"The New York Times"
"[A] tour de force... [an] audacious, demanding, inventive literary work."
--"Wall Street Journal"
"Rendered with virtuosic precision and deep empathy."
-"Time"
"Exploding with violence and seething with arousal, the third novel by Marlon James cuts a swath across recent Jamaican history...This compelling, not-so-brief history brings off a social portrait worthy of Diego Rivera, antic and engagE, a fascinating tangle of the naked and the dead."
--"The Washington Post
""A strange and wonderful novel...Mr. James's chronicle of late 20th-century Jamaican politics and gang wars manages consistently to shock and mesmerise at the same time."
--"The Economist ""
""James has written a dangerous book, one full of lore and whispers and history... [a] great book... James nibbles at theories of who did what and why, and scripts Marley's quest for revenge with the pace of a thriller. His achievement, however, goes far beyond opening up this terrible moment in the life of a great musician. He gives us the streets, the people, especially the desperate, the Jamaicans whom Marley exhorted to: 'Open your eyes and look within: / Are you satisfied with the life your living?'"
--"The Boston Globe "
" "
"Thrilling, ambitious...Both intense and epic."
--"Los Angeles Times"
"A prismatic story of gang violence and Cold War politics in a turbulent post-independence Jamaica."
--"The New Yorker"
"I highly recommend you pick ["A Brief History of Seven Killings"] up. As a book of many narrators, this novel reminds me of Roberto Bolano's "The Savage Detectives.""
--NPR, "All Things Considered "
"An impressive feat of storytelling: raw, uncompromising, panoramic yet meticulously detailed. The Jamaica portrayed here is one many people have heard songs about but have never seen rendered in such arresting specificity--and if they have, only briefly."
--"Chicago Tribune"
"A sweeping novel that touches on family, friendship, celebrity, art, sexuality, ghetto politics, geopolitics, drug trade, gender, race and more, sending the reader from Jamaica to New York via Miami and Cuba and back."
--"Newsweek"
"Like a capacious 19th-century novel crossed with a paranoid Don DeLillo conspiracy-theory thriller...the book rewards time spent, bringing a complex perspective on violence, corruption, and the untidiness of humanity to vivid life and astonishing detail. It makes you want to rush out and read everything else James has written."
--"The Philadelphia Inquirer"
"The way James uses language is amazing....Vigorous, intricate and captivating, "A Brief History of Seven Killings "is hard to put down."
--"Ebony "
"A gripping tale in which music, drugs, sex, and violence collide with explosive results."
--"Bustle "
"James's masterful novel radiates; [it's] a character-driven tale that takes place in a maelstrom of guns, drugs and politics."
--"Playboy"
"Brilliantly executed... The novel makes no compromises, but is cruelly and consummately a work of art."
--"The""Minneapolis Star Tribune "

[Marlon James] is a virtuoso [the novel" "is] an epic of postcolonial fallout, in Jamaica and elsewhere, and America s participation in that history. the book is not only persuasive but tragic, though in its polyphony and scope it s more than that .It makes its own kind of music, not like Marley s, but like the tumult he couldn t stop.
"New York Times Book Review"
Nothing short of awe-inspiring.
"Entertainment Weekly"
How to describe Marlon James s monumental new novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings"? It s like a Tarantino remake of "The Harder They Come" but with a soundtrack by Bob Marley and a script by Oliver Stone and William Faulkner, with maybe a little creative boost from some primo ganja. It s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting a testament to Mr. James s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.
"The New York Times"
[A] tour de force [an] audacious, demanding, inventive literary work.
"Wall Street Journal"
Rendered with virtuosic precision and deep empathy.
"Time"
Exploding with violence and seething with arousal, the third novel by Marlon James cuts a swath across recent Jamaican history This compelling, not-so-brief history brings off a social portrait worthy ofDiego Rivera, antic and engage, a fascinating tangle of the naked and the dead.
"The Washington Post
" A strange and wonderful novel Mr. James s chronicle of late 20th-century Jamaican politics and gang wars manages consistently to shock and mesmerise at the same time.
"The Economist " "
"James has written a dangerous book, one full of lore and whispers and history [a] great book... James nibbles at theories of who did what and why, and scripts Marley s quest for revenge with the pace of a thriller. His achievement, however, goes far beyond opening up this terrible moment in the life of a great musician. He gives us the streets, the people, especially the desperate, the Jamaicans whom Marley exhorted to: Open your eyes and look within: / Are you satisfied with the life your living?
"The Boston Globe "
""
Thrilling, ambitious Both intense and epic.
"Los Angeles Times"
Aprismatic story of gang violence and Cold War politics in a turbulent post-independence Jamaica.
"The New Yorker"
I highly recommend you pick ["A Brief History of Seven Killings"] up. As a book of many narrators, this novel reminds me of Roberto Bolano's"The Savage Detectives."
NPR, "All Things Considered "
An impressive feat of storytelling: raw, uncompromising, panoramic yet meticulously detailed. The Jamaica portrayed here is one many people have heard songs about but have never seen rendered in such arresting specificity and if they have, only briefly.
"Chicago Tribune"
A sweeping novel that touches on family, friendship, celebrity, art, sexuality, ghetto politics, geopolitics, drug trade, gender, race and more, sending the reader from Jamaica to New York via Miami and Cuba and back.
"Newsweek"
Like a capacious 19th-century novel crossed with a paranoid Don DeLillo conspiracy-theory thriller the book rewards time spent, bringing a complex perspective on violence, corruption, and the untidiness of humanity to vivid life and astonishing detail. It makes you want to rush out and read everything else James has written.
"The Philadelphia Inquirer"
The way James uses language is amazing .Vigorous, intricate and captivating, "A Brief History of Seven Killings"is hard to put down.
"Ebony "
A gripping tale in which music, drugs, sex, and violence collide with explosive results.
"Bustle "
James s masterful novel radiates; [it s] a character-driven tale that takes place in a maelstrom of guns, drugs and politics.
"Playboy"
Brilliantly executed The novel makes no compromises, but is cruelly and consummately a work of art.
"The" "Minneapolis Star Tribune ""

Product details

  • File Size: 1617 KB
  • Print Length: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (October 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: October 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00INIXV84
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,969 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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