A few years after being accused of dumbing down in its selection of books, the Booker Prize is back and kicking! Expanding the prize from British and Commonwealth writers to include all fiction written in English and published in the U.K. was a stroke of genius (courtesy of the Folio Prize, I might add), and has made the list that much more adventurous.
Jamaican Marlon James’ book A Brief History of Seven Killings is the fruit of that bravery. It’s a story that spins out of the real life assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976 and takes you on a whirlwind tour through Jamaica’s violent history of the 1970s and 80s. It’s not a book for the faint-hearted: swearing, drugs, killing (a lot more than seven) is so prominent that the Chair of the Booker Prize judges admitted he would never give it to his mum. Nor is it an easy book, with multiple voices, a large cast of characters, patois dialect and nearly 700 pages. But – it’s probably worth it!