A Brief History of Seven Killings

  • by Marlon James
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean, Cherise Boothe, Dwight Bacquie, Ryan Anderson, Jonathan McClain, Robert Younis, Thom Rivera
  • 26 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
On 3 December 1976, just weeks before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions, seven gunmen from West Kingston stormed his house.
Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. Not a lot was recorded about the fate of the seven gunmen, but much has been said, whispered and sung about in the streets of West Kingston.

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What the Critics Say

"Vast and teeming...a vivid novel that deserves all the praise it has received." (Sunday Telegraph)
"This seething, hot, violent, action-packed novel is enormous in every sense...the ambition is huge, but [James] pulls it off with huge style, confidence, imagination and wit.... Extraordinary." (The Times)
"The most original novel I've read in years. A haunting, incendiary work." (Irvine Welsh)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

'Brief' it was not

This is a lengthy highly complex read which examines a time in recent history from 1970’s to the 1990’s and portrays Jamaica as a brutal violent dangerous, corrupt and quite ‘mad’ a place in which to live.
It takes in drug gangs politics and ‘the singer’ Bob Marley. The author describes this book as mixture of fact, myth and his own imagination.
This book is set in Jamaica with some detours to New York and Miami. 
I read that it took the author four years to research this work. Having read it I believe this to be true. Mr James has shown such attention to detail throughout.
I chose this book as it was on the Man Booker Prize list. I never heard of the author before, but am glad I do now.
Essentially having listened I would say this book was ideally suited to being an audiobook due to the variety of characters and their differing voices.  Surprisingly it even moves into exploring death and at least one of the characters is a ghost. 
I thought it was a unique book and couldn’t wait to get back to it every chance I got. Listening to the story from the perspective of varied characters brought reality to the events through their differing voices.
I now realise the hardcopy has a list of seventy-six characters mentioned by these narrators sorted by the location and time period where they appear to aid the reader. Their varied roles are stated within this description. I think this would have been so valuable to the audiobook reader and feel cheated that I did not have it.
I think that Audible should provide this maybe as an 'add on’ so reader can access it as needed. This would really have helped me initially to track the characters and understand their varied roles. Yes the chapters are read by different narrators so that aided understanding of the characters but a description of their role would have been invaluable. 
The story moves at a fast and gripping pace. Many of these characters are seriously nasty and vile. The things they don’t think twice of thinking, saying or doing is unbelievable and downright shocking. Having said that the story telling and depiction of the characters is such that I was hooked from the beginning. Their humanity is laid bare for the reader to see and as such I often felt sorry for some of them despite their actions. Initially the Jamaican dialect was way too difficult for my comprehension so I had to slow it right down. In time I got used to it and of course it really added to the overall wonderfulness of the book. 
Can you tell I LOVED and would highly recommend it
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- Cian

Hope it wins Booker.

Multiple characters/narrators, some Jamaican accents were more authentic than others but I got past the iffy ones because the story was so good. My favourite characters were the central characters - Nina Burgess, Jose Wales, BamBam and....I lie, every character, however briefly or leisurely drawn, was brilliant. This is a specifically Jamaican narrative about a particular time in history and the dynamic of a particular group of people. Still, it is an epic story and one with universal themes that will resonate. It is about island life and mentality, about history and the fact that the past cannot be extricated from the present, about politics or politricks, about the conflicting and conflating ambitions of the empowered and disempowered. I am going to miss this world and these characters and hope that someone has sense enough, and money enough, to make a film worthy of the book (without subtitles) Downloaded Kingston Noir, heard Marlon James short story and so impressed subsequently downloaded all Marlon James fiction titles available on Audible. This is a seminal Jamaican novel. Mr James deserves The Booker.
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- Musicista

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-07-2015
  • Publisher: Whole Story AudioBooks