A Brief History Of Seven Killings, Marlon James’ extraordinary third novel has received acclaim from the world’s literary critics and last year won the Man Booker Prize, but it is much more important than that.
Filmic (or more likely boxset-ic) from the start, it’s not surprising that HBO have already bought up the options because this book is magnificent. Like an updated War And Peace set in Kingston and New York, not St Petersburg and Moscow, there are more than enough characters to rival Tolstoy’s creations.
Based on an assassination attempt on Bob Marley when the CIA presumed Jamaica would be one of the dominoes that followed Cuba’s socialist revolution, the depiction of poverty and gangsters in Kingston shines new light on that period of history.
This book, however, is a serious commitment. Its 700 pages, some in patois and others in dreamscape, have to be respected and nurtured in a quiet space without distraction. Once that journey begins, so will yours. An awesome book.