Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. His most recent novel is A Brief History of Seven Killings. He 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 lives in Minneapolis.
Marlon's new historical novel-following his critically acclaimed debut, John Crow's Devil (2005)-is set in late 1700s Jamaica and graphically and repeatedly depicts rape, torture, murder, and every imaginable horror of slavery. Audie Award winner Robin Miles (Roots) reads the text, most of which is in dialect. Her performance is flawless, but this is not an easy book to listen to. The plot should appeal to fans of historical fiction, though the descriptions of rape and torture and the graphic language might deter some. James's style, while unique, brings to mind the works of such powerful contemporary novelists as Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat. [Audio clip available through us.penguingroup.com; the Riverhead hc was recommended "for larger collections of postcolonial fiction," LJ 2/15/09.-Ed.]-Valerie Piechocki, Prince George's Cty. Memorial Lib., Largo, MD Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"Both beautifully written and devastating...Writing in the spirit
of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own, James
has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable- even
the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an
- The New York Times Book Review
"The narrative voice is so assured and the descriptions so detailed and believable that one can't help being engaged. This is a book to love. . . . The Book of Night Women is hard to pick up, even harder to put down . . . and it deserves to be read."
- Chicago Tribune
"The Book of Night Women is a searing read, full of blood, tears, and the stench of misery. It's barbaric and ancient, but also familiar in the ways that people, consumed by their differences and divisions, easily overlook all that binds them- the desire for independence, the right to a civilized life, and the need to give and receive love."
- The Boston Globe
"The Book of Night Women is not merely a historical novel. It is a book as heavily peopled and dark as the night in this isolated and brutal place. It is a canticle of love and hate."
- Los Angeles Times
"[Marlon James] has carved strong and compelling female figures out of the harsh landscape of nineteenth-century British-ruled Jamaica . . . The Book of Night Women's most poignant feature is James's sensitive and layered treatment of the unlikely romance that blossoms between Lilith and her Irish overseer."
- The Miami Herald
"When a novel casts a powerful spell, I find myself trying to locate where it got hold of me. I knew The Book of Night Women had me when I started waking at night to worry about its characters. . . . Enslave one people and all are trapped. That familiar concept wears flesh and bone in The Book of Night Women. It stands in the wake of Toni Morrison's transcendent slave literature, and it holds its own."
- The Cleveland Plain- Dealer
"James has given us an epic novel of late-eighteenth-century West Indian slavery, complete with all its carnage and brutishness, but one that, like a Toni Morrison novel, whispers rather than shouts its horrors."
-Time Out New York
"The narrative voice, with its idiosyncratic inflections and storytelling warmth, will pull you into this outsized, marvelous account . . . James re-creates a world and brushes it with an element of the fantastic, but the emotions he conveys are all too real and heartbreaking."
"If you pick up The Book of Night Women, you might lose a little sleep. The second novel from Kingston native Marlon James will have you flipping pages, thirsty for more story, late into the night. . . . Well crafted and beautifully written...it will stay in your mind for weeks to come."
-The Washington Post
"The Book of Night Women is a slave narrative, a story of rebellion, and a testament to the human heart in conflict with itself. It is a book of rip and rhythm. Of violence and tenderness. Of the healing glance in all the hatred. It reads like Faulkner in another skin. It is a brave book. And like the best, and most dangerous, of stories, it seems as if it was just waiting to be told."
"Marlon James has written an exquisite, haunting, and beautiful novel, impossible to resist. Like the best of literature, The Book of Night Women deserves to be passed down hand to hand, generation to generation."
"With The Book of Night Women, Marlon James proves himself to be Jamaica's answer to Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, and Zadie Smith. James imbues his lively, energetic prose and unforgettable characters with a precocious wisdom about love, race, and history that none of us has ever seen before, but that feels alive, even definitive, as soon as we've read it."
-Colin Channer, author of The Girl with the Golden Shoes
"Marlon James's writing brings to mind early Toni Morrison, Jessica Hagedorn, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez."
- Kaylie Jones, author of A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries
"Pile them up, a Marlon James character says repeatedly, and Marlon does just that. Pile them up: language, imagery, technique, imagination. All fresh, all exciting."
-Chris Abani, author of The Virgin of Flames and GraceLand
"[An] epic narrative . . . as lyrical as it is hypnotic, even in the most violent passages."
- The Independent
"A very nearly perfect work; an exquisite blend of form and content. . . . He bestows on the slave account authenticity and authority."
- The Toronto Globe and Mail