A Brief History of Seven Killings
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 unnamed 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 rumors abounded regarding the assassins’ fates. A Brief History of Seven Killings is James’s fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters-assassins, drug dealers, journalists, and even ghosts-James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s.
A Brief History of Seven Killings is a powerful novel packed with violence and corruption, inspired by the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in Kingston. It has the aura of a masterpiece, for besides being original, intelligent and irresistible, it also boldly surveys and exposes the murderous world of politics and not only in Jamaica in the 1970s and early 80s. This is a story which might have happened in almost any part of the present-day world and its general message is an appeal to the word at large. The novel incorporates an enormous cast of characters, but this does not impede the reading at all. The story is gripping, its messages grim and alarming.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
A gripping novel set in Jamaica in the 70s begins with the attempted assassination of the reggae icon Bob Marley, referred to as the “Singer”. Turbulent events of post-independence Jamaica with tales of gang violence, poverty and drugs collide with explosive results. James chronicles a powerful story of how inner-city culture can change a person.