A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Book Review)

A Brief History of Seven KillingsA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There may be a great story here, but I can’t find it in all the Writing with a capital W.

I was looking forward to this book, because I usually find kickass reads on the Man Booker shortlist. This winner, though, was just too much work to push through.

It’s not my general lack of interest in reggae, Bob Marley in particular, or Jamaican politics and gangs in the 1970’s; one reason I read is to learn new things. It’s not the violent and oppressed world and the unflinching use of the language of that world; another reason I read is to travel to other worlds. It’s not just the lengthy cast of characters, although a helpful list is provided. I’ve read plenty of books with tons of characters and factions and managed to keep track of who’s who. I can even read books that would have me sympathize with gangsters and thugs; they are human and have stories too.

But combine all of those things, then fold in a disjointed, stream-of-consciousness writing style and extensive use of Jamaican patois for almost 700 pages. My eyes are glazing over. I made it to page 74, well short of my 100-page rule, and I can’t even tell you what’s happened, or to whom. Abandoning.

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Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

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