Marlon James || A Brief History of Seven Killings

What shall I say? Shall I recommend this novel to anyone? Well maybe if you’re the type that loves being bludgeoned to oblivion with sheer violence combined with the ravings of drug addicts, gang dons and slightly cheesy CIA-agents. Fortunately chapters got shorter towards the end, I doubt I would have finished Seven Killings otherwise. Has James done something well  technically? Well yes, not anyone can write 700 pages in stream of consciousness whilst writing about a group of people one might hope James does not bear any resemblance to. The majority of people he lets talk are gang dons, their seconds in command, heavily addicted young murderers, dubious CIA-agents, a pitiful journalist and OMG, one woman. James bombarded me with unrestricted violence, the ravings of crack addicts, fact after fact after fact and intrigue after intrigue after intrigue. And let’s not forget the extremely low opinion all these men have of women. I suspect he did this on purpose: to make me experience the extreme violence Jamaicans used to encounter on a daily basis. By battering me with violence and cruelty and not allowing me some moments of relieve he unfortunately missed the point entirely. Even those poor Jamaicans must have known some moment of relief, if only enjoying a meal or cuddling with their loved ones. James is not this generous. Seven Killings is a relentless bombardment; one in which bombs keep on being thrown and some extra added to make absolutely sure nothing escapes destruction. Overkill this is called. I’d really want to ask James why he did not add more variation in character. Couldn’t he have added 1-2 characters who provided a different perspective or have written part of the novel in a more descriptive style? Reading about the countryside would have added some welcome repose. I am afraid James made a very conscious choice to confront his readers with extreme violence and cruelty page after page after page. This reader is not convinced and judging by the comments in social media I am not the only one rejecting this overdose of violence. I just hope that those who could take this novel as an example to model their lives on are probably not the ones to read it.

Marlon James-A Brief History of Seven Killings


About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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2 Responses to Marlon James || A Brief History of Seven Killings

  1. BookerTalk says:

    You didn’t like it I gather??? 🙂 It might sound mean but I hope this doesn’t win the Booker next week because then I’d have to read it. Its not the subject matter that puts me off but the fact there seems to be no light and shade

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