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A Brief History of Seven Killings
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Marlon James
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James at Abbey's Bookshop,

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Marlon James


One World

Fiction & Literature;
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)


$35.00  $13.00
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ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— I read Marlon James' 700 page novel over the Christmas break in the Summer of 2015. Every night my mind would travel to Jamaica, finding itself outside the beaches and safe tourist zones full of bars, restaurants and shops. I never saw those. My time in Jamaica was spent running with the raggedy young men brandishing their weapons and listening to their braggadocio peppered with, no… smothered in juvenile misogyny. It takes a while for me to grasp that their childish talk is precisely because they are still children - boys not men.

The structure of the book is interesting. No chapters as such but instead we have alternating first-person viewpoints of events and goings-on. Often we return to a person, getting more of their specific world view. I found the monologues from ganglords Papa Lo and Josey Wales to be particularly striking. Like the TV series The Wire, we gradually build an understanding of the many forces at play between the key players - the CIA, the politicians, the rival gangs, and life in the ghettos.

Some readers will struggle with the Jamaican patois. I loved it, gradually tuning in to the meaning and use of words and phrases. If you can handle that then you will be rewarded with an epic and detailed story around the violent exploitation of poverty-stricken youth towards the aims of political power struggles. Craig Kirchner
A musical, electric, fantastically profane epic that explores the tumultuous world of Jamaica over the past three decades. New York Times

Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivalled skills of characterisation and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope.

Jamaica, 1976: On December 3, 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. Rumours abound regarding the assassins fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated. The reggae superstar survives, but leaves Jamaica the following day, not to return for two years.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, James delves deep into this dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica's history and beyond. This is an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer.

Marlon James's dazzling novel is a tour de force. It traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined - and questions asked - in a masterpiece of imagination.

Justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and no one can truly escape his fate.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James at Abbey’s Bookshop 131 York Street Sydney

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By:   Marlon James
Imprint:   One World
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 44mm
ISBN:   9781780749761
ISBN 10:   1780749767
Publication Date:   November 2015
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

'A really extraordinary book' Salman Rushdie 'Dazzling' Guardian

  • Short-listed for International Dublin Literary Award 2016
  • Shortlisted for International Dublin Literary Award 2016.
  • Winner of Green Carnation Prize 2015
  • Winner of Green Carnation Prize 2015.
  • Winner of Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015
  • Winner of Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015.
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