Marlon James has won The Man Booker Prize 2015 with his third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. James is the first Jamaican to win the prize. The novel is a fictional history of an attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976.
I read James’ debut novel, John Crow’s Devil, in 2005, the same year that it was released. The story focuses on the “battle between two men of God”, the Rum Preacher and Apostle York, in the small town of Gibbeah. It was a delightful read. The language was rich and evocative; his use of Patwa, oh, the language in the book is brilliant. I was in my feelings and it reminded me so much of the experience of reading Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent.
(As usual, I’ve been meaning to get back to reading his two books since then, but here we are, 10 years later, zilch.)
The Booker will bring more attention to his work and that’s a very good thing.
I’m obsessed with finding out the literary likes/loves of writers whose works I enjoy. It can lead to new discoveries. Sometimes it leads me back to an old writer whose work I may be consciously ignoring. That’s how I read Faulkner, because some of my favorite writers kept mentioning his name so I finally relented; I wasn’t disappointed at all.
In an interview at Biographile, James says:
“I’m more influenced by specific books than writers, and it depends on the book I’m writing. For The Book Of Night Women, it was Toni Morrison’s Song Of Solomon, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Olive Senior’s Summer Lightning, and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which more than all the others persuaded me to trust the character’s not the author’s voice to tell a story. For A Brief History Of Seven Killings: James Ellroy’s American Tabloid, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, Jessica Hagerdorn’s Dogeaters, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.”
We are keeping Marlon James!
- The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
- Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
- The Year of Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
- A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara