Look, Listen & Learn

A History of Seven Killings: Marlon James (2016)

Jamaican-born 2015 Booker Prize winner Marlon James likes to dirty-up language to intensify its power. A self-avowed Dickensian, he celebrates traditional storytelling, imbuing it with a fierce spirit not to mention visceral sex and violence. A Brief History of Seven Killings, a fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976, is his third novel – his first garnered 78 rejections – and is described by The New York Times as “sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex”. He speaks with Noelle McCarthy.