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A Brief History of Seven Killings: Author Marlon James wins Man Booker prize

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 5:54 IST

Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his book -- A Brief History of Seven Killings. The book is an epic about the 1976 assassination attempt on reggae star Bob Marley. He is the first Jamaican-born author to win the prize.

"It's so surreal I keep thinking I'm going to wake up or at least fall into a whole barrage of tears," said James while accepting the prize.

The prize was awarded on Wednesday morning IST at London's Guildhall by Her Royal Highness, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

What's the book about:

A Brief History of Seven Killings is an imagined oral history that begins in 1970s Jamaica and narrated by a numerous characters, including a music journalist, a CIA agent, and a former lover of Marley.

Below are some of the reviews:

If the scope of James's talent has grown from book to book, his imagination is more consistent - that tendency to inhabit the dark and gory places, and to shine a light on them. Despite its title, this isn't a brief novel and neither are there a mere seven killings. Readers will flinch many more times than that. When reading reviews of Night Women, James apparently became bored with comparisons to Toni Morrison; and with A Brief History, he's got bored with comparisons to Quentin Tarantino. But it is hard not to see the strength of that comparison. This is a novel that explores the aesthetics of cacophony and also the aesthetics of violence.


The way James weaves his crowd of characters (the cast numbers more than 70, of which many - even dead men - narrate their stories in first person) through a tapestry of reality and fiction enables him to portray a vibrant (if bloody, chaotic and desperate) country while touching on controversial elements such as CIA involvement in Jamaican gangland killings.

Other winners since 1980:

2015 A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

2014 The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

2013 The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

2012 Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

2011 The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

2010 The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

2009 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

2008 The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

2007 The Gathering by Anne Enright

2006 The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

2005 The Sea by John Banville

2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel

2001 True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

1999 Disgrace by JM Coetzee

1998 Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift

1995 The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

1994 How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman

1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje; Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

1991 The Famished Road by Ben Okri

1990 Possession: a Romance by AS Byatt

1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Livel

1986 The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

1985 The Bone People by Keri Hulme

1984 Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

1983 Life and Times of Michael K by JM Coetzee

1982 Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally

1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

1980 Rites of Passage by William Golding

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First published: 14 October 2015, 3:38 IST