“...characters arise out of our need for them.”
March 10, 2015 8:39 AM   Subscribe

From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself by Marlon James [New York Times]

On December 3, 1976, 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. Rumors abound regarding the assassins’ fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.
Recommended listening: Marlon James reads an excerpt from his book, "A Brief History of Seven Killings".
The Book Report video podcast: Episode 5: ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ [The Millions]

“Give me a juice, nah!” A booming cry in the kitchen made Bob and Gilly look up as Bob’s manager, a swaggering, sharp-witted hustler called Don Taylor, strode in. But Taylor was followed almost immediately by three intruders — gunmen, charging in through the doors at either end of the kitchen. One brandished two automatics like he was Jimmy Cliff in The Harder They Come. They fired round after round, the sound deafening as the kitchen became a battlefield. The Wailers and their militant Dread posse were caught off guard. Indeed, even though this was the moment Bob had been dreading, when the shock came, he froze. Everything went into slow motion. He felt something push him, and he fell down… The bullet aimed at Bob’s heart instead smashed into his upper arm. Later, Bob was advised that an operation to remove it carried the risk of loss of control of his fingers, so the lead would stay there till he was in his coffin.

The Crime Novel of the Year Is a 600-Page Bob Marley–Tinged, Jamaican Assassination Saga That Tarantino Would Love [Grantland]
A 'Post-Post-Colonial' Take On The Violent Birth Of Modern Jamaica [NPR]
Jamaica via a Sea of Voices [New York Times]
Writer Marlon James Reimagines a Watershed in Jamaica [Wall Street Journal]
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – bloody conflicts in 70s Jamaica [The Guardian]
The GQ+A: Marlon James [GQ]

Marlon James is the author of three novels, “John Crow’s Devil,” “The Book of Night Women” and, most recently, “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”
posted by Fizz (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It is easily the best book I have read in the last year. James is an amazing author.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

We live 3 blocks east of Macalester and Ms Wimp graduated from there. The Irish bar his friends took him to is Tim O'Gara's at Snelling and Selby. The gay bar Camp they took him to is in downtown St. Paul and it books really good acts. Just wanted to say that, because IT'S MY TOWN!
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:25 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, coincidentally, Seven Killings won today's Tournament of Books round!
posted by Maecenas at 9:33 AM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Now that I am home, I have read the actual article. Fantastic!

I recently finished Seven Killings and immediately restarted it, I liked it so much. I didn't know anything about James when I started it, but partway through I started wondering, hmmm, the gay sex sure gets a lot of description, that's interesting...

So it was wonderful to read this piece and see him describing being in a place where he could be fully himself and sounding happy. I hope that leads to many more amazing books, because he has a singular voice and style, and I want to read more by him in the coming years.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 PM on March 10, 2015

I adore James's writing. I think it's one of the great mysteries of literature that "The Book of Night Women" didn't get more attention than it did; it's a gorgeous book.
posted by holborne at 6:49 PM on March 10, 2015

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