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A Brief History of Seven Killings

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Country  United States
Media type  Print
Originally published  2 October 2014
Page count  704
Genre  Fiction
3.9/5 Goodreads

Cover artist  Gregg Kulick
Language  English
Pages  704
Author  Marlon James
Publisher  Riverhead Books
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Publication date  October 2, 2014 (hardcover), (electronic book)
Awards  Booker Prize, American Book Awards
Similar  Booker Prize winners, Fiction books

Marlon james a brief history of seven killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings is the third novel by Jamaican author Marlon James. It was published by Riverhead Books. The novel spans several decades and explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1976 and its aftermath through the crack wars in New York City in the 1980s and a changed Jamaica in the 1990s.


Marlon james on a brief history of seven killings about bob marley on bbc world tv s gmt 23 10 14


The novel has five sections, each named after a musical track and covering the events of a single day:

  • “Original Rockers: December 2, 1976”
  • “Ambush in the Night: December 3, 1976”
  • “Shadow Dancin’: February 15, 1979”
  • “White Lines/Kids in America: August 14, 1985”
  • “Sound Boy Killing: March 22, 1991”
  • The first part of the novel is set in Kingston, Jamaica, in the build-up to the Smile Jamaica Concert, and describes politically motivated violence between gangs associated with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP), especially in the West Kingston neighborhoods of Tivoli Gardens and Mathews Lane (renamed in the novel as Copenhagen City and Eight Lanes), including involvement of the CIA in the Jamaican politics of the time. As well as Marley (who is referred to as "the Singer" throughout), other real life characters depicted or fictionalized in the book include Kingston gangsters Winston "Burry Boy" Blake and George "Feathermop" Spence, Claude Massop and Lester Lloyd Coke (Jim Brown) of the JLP and Aston Thomson (Buckie Marshall) of the PNP.


    The book was awarded the 2015 Man Booker Prize. This marked the first time that a Jamaican-born author has won the prize. According to the BBC: "[Man Booker judge Michael] Wood said the judges came to a unanimous decision in less than two hours. He praised the book's 'many voices'—it contains more than 75 characters—which 'went from Jamaican slang to Biblical heights'".

  • 2014 – National Book Critics Circle Award finalist
  • 2015 – Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction
  • 2015 – Minnesota Book Award for Novel & Short Story
  • 2015 – Man Booker Prize
  • Television

    HBO has optioned the novel and is planning a television series, with no début date yet announced.


    A Brief History of Seven Killings Wikipedia

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