Marlon James Wins Man Booker Prize

Mr. James said he hoped the award would draw attention to the flourishing literary scene in his home country.

“There’s this whole universe of really spunky creativity that’s happening,” he said. “I hope it brings more attention to what’s coming out of Jamaica and the Caribbean.”


I read this work last year during a particularly busy time for me, so I didn't get to comment on it in depth. It was perhaps the best work of fiction I read in 2014. The story came in and out of focus for me–sometimes very vivid, other times a blur. Thematically the focus of the novel is pretty narrow–much of the action involves drug gangs battling it it–but James develops his characters with sensitivity and surprising variety–Americans, male gang members, Jamaican women. The language varies a lot, with Jamaican patois as the novel's most distinctive mode. It takes some getting used to. Overall, a very strong novel that deserved the Booker, and if A Brief History of Seven Killings is an example of what's going on in Caribbean literature, then it warrants further attention.

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