Stephan Lee
October 31, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Brief History of Seven Killings

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Marlon James
publisher
Riverhead Hardcover
genre
Historical Fiction

We gave it an A-

This ambitious novel requires an ambitious reader. Starting with the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976, James chronicles decades of upheaval in Jamaica’s turbulent history through the eyes of myriad narrators: a Rolling Stone reporter, the ghost of a politician, and an assortment of gangsters, drug lords, and CIA agents. The sheer number of characters (there’s a handy list at the beginning), the Caribbean slang, and the gonzo view of violence and corruption are dizzying but nothing short of awe-inspiring. A-

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