A Brief History of Seven Killings (Booker Prize Winner): A Novel

· Sold by Penguin
30 reviews

About this ebook

Winner of the Booker Prize

One of the New York Times’s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century

One of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Books of the Decade

One of The Atlantic’s Great American Novels of the Past 100 Years

A “thrilling, ambitious . . . intense” (Los Angeles Times) novel that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s, from the author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivaled skills of characterization and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope.

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.

A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents,  even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.

Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight.

Ratings and reviews

30 reviews
Paul Demetre
December 13, 2019
I was excited to read this Booker prize winner but ended up very disappointed. The story was told through many different voices and perspectives, often in the Jamaican dialect of the speaker. Sentences are sometimes structured but other times are simply run-on train of thought that goes on for pages. In the end I simply ended up feeling that this novel was unfocused and required more effort than the payback I received for my efforts.
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Kevin Thompson
August 27, 2018
This book was great. Everything I expected and more. Highly recommend. Don't know what else to say that other reviewers hasn't already said in their reviews.
1 person found this review helpful
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Rowan Pritchard
October 17, 2016
A fantastic journey deep into the heart of the Jamaican people at the rime of the rapid and abrupt rise of the country's reggae music to the world stage.
5 people found this review helpful
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About the author

Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also a New York Times Notable BookJames is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.

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