"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."
–Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[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."
"[A] tour de force... [an] audacious, demanding, inventive literary work."
–Wall Street Journal
"Rendered with virtuosic precision and deep empathy."
"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 engagé, 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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"A gripping tale in which music, drugs, sex, and violence collide with explosive results."
"James's masterful novel radiates; [it's] a character-driven tale that takes place in a maelstrom of guns, drugs and politics."
"Brilliantly executed... The novel makes no compromises, but is cruelly and consummately a work of art."
–The Minneapolis Star Tribune