Not for the faint of heart, Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings captures the contradictions and conflicts that formed Jamaica in the 1970's. Neither brief, nor limited to seven killings, the work encompasses the birth of a new culture at war with the decline of the existing regime. Rolling Stone reporters, CIA agents, Cuban terrorists, and brown-skinned girls from middle-class Jamaica all orbit the Singer, who is the presence that shapes them through his absence.
A Brief History can be a difficult read because of its multitude of characters, violence, and the complexity of its story. It is also funny, tragic, historically formed, and brilliantly written. Well worth the reading time.

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