A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Audiobook CD - 2014
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On December 3, 1976, gunmen stormed Bob Marley's house, machine guns blazing, nearly killing all inside. Marley left the country three days later, not to return for two years. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts, this is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from Kingston in the '70s, to a radically altered Jamaica in the 1990s.
Publisher: [Minneapolis, MN] : HighBridge Audio, 2014
ISBN: 9781622315376
Branch Call Number: CD FIC JAMES
Characteristics: 22 audio discs (1560 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in


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Dec 06, 2016

So glad I borrowed this book on CD... I would never have gotten through the dialect reading. It's too interwoven and long. Perfect audio with different performers for each character and all very good. Very intriguing premise for the book!

Feb 18, 2016

Not for the faint of heart, Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings captures the contradictions and conflicts that formed Jamaica in the 1970's. Neither brief, nor limited to seven killings, the work encompasses the birth of a new culture at war with the decline of the existing regime. Rolling Stone reporters, CIA agents, Cuban terrorists, and brown-skinned girls from middle-class Jamaica all orbit the Singer, who is the presence that shapes them through his absence.
A Brief History can be a difficult read because of its multitude of characters, violence, and the complexity of its story. It is also funny, tragic, historically formed, and brilliantly written. Well worth the reading time.

Oct 26, 2015

Even the most positive reviews of this novel (which just won the Man Booker Prize) call it a slog or a book more to admire than enjoy. But I love epics, writing in different Englishes, multiple points-of-view, and fiction on heavy topics; above all, I adored Marlon James' brilliant The Book of Night Women, so I was excited to listen to the audiobook.

Alas, that's 26 hours of my life I'll never get back.

A Brief History of Seven Killings is a masterpiece, but the complexity of its plot, dozens of unlikeable characters, repetition and sheer length, and non-stop recitation of violence made it an arduous listen. It seems written for people who love both pretentious literary fiction and superviolent shoot 'em up movies, and the reader who likes only one of the two should beware.

The Book of Night Women was also horrifyingly violent, but in ways that drove home the reality of slavery; more importantly it was filled with characters I cared about even when they did terrible things. None of the characters here came to life in the same way, and the author seemed to glory in nonstop violent murders, torture, and rape long after his points about the irredeemability of Jamaican politics, ghettos, the Cold War, and drug warfare (or maybe just Jamaica itself), was made.

Many of the dozen narrators suffer from delusions (ghosts who think they're alive, white men whose racism blinds them to reality, violent criminals who think they have more control than they actually do, self-hating gay criminals denying their desires, ordinary Jamaicans who think they can survive, etc.), and the writing of these different voices, betraying their delusions to the reader, is often dazzling. But many of these set-pieces go on past the point of self-indulgence; and once you catch onto the theme, it feels monotonous.

I did enjoy one character--Nina Burgess, the only narrator who isn't a violent murderer--but not enough to feel it was worth the slog.


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