Brief History of Seven Killings

Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

4 stars or 4.5 stars. I can’t decide. The more I think about this book, the more I like it.

This story is about the assassination attempt on Bob Marley and his family in December 1976 and then subsequent decades leading up to 1991. Its told in multiple view points, varying from Copenhagen City gang don, to his lackeys to American CIA agents to a young girl living in Kingston at the time. I thought that telling the story through the multiple views was very effective and added a lot of tension and intrigue.

At times it was funny, sad, violent, terrifying, and everything in between. The characters were richly drawn out and felt like real people – flawed but fascinating.

The only reason I didn’t give the book five stars was because there was a bit of a slow period in the middle that didn’t feel as tightly narrated as the rest of the book. It felt a bit sluggish compared to the rest.

I’m not at all surprised that this book is getting a lot of literary attention now that I’ve read it. It is much deserved.

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