Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Book of Night Women


Probably the toughest, and definitely one of the most rewarding novels I've read yet on the Kindle, Marlon James' The Book of Night Women is a violent and harrowing account of life among slaves on a Jamaican plantation. The main character, Lilith, has startling green eyes which mark her as different in various ways--beautiful, of mixed-race heritage, and an outsider. Her pride and refusal to easily bend to the will of others, even though that will is often imposed on her by violence or by circumstance, are the only freedom she can know.


I like writers who take chances, and the fact that this book is written entirely in Jamaican dialect is both impressive and difficult. Ultimately, it means that there is no escape from the violent world of the book--the reader is trapped there by both the narrative and the language. Paradoxically, I found myself at the same time wishing for a page of standard English and hoping that the book would never end.

The reader should know that much of the book is extremely violent and profane, the kind of book that challenges the reader and shocks him or her out of the complacency of comfortable narrative and simple language. I highly recommend it for Kindle owners, and anyone else who likes fiction.


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1 comments:

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

Her pride and refusal to easily bend to the will of others, even though that will is often imposed on her by violence or by circumstance, are the only freedom she can know. Fake Air Yeezy

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