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Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
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Bibliofile

The first Jamaican to win the Booker prize and Rushdie's unafraid form.

Bibliofile
Bibliofile
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Reggae and Knives

The gloom that descended on the Caribbean when West Indies failed to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017 must have lifted a little by the dazzling achievement of Marlon James—the first Jamaican to win the Booker prize. His searing, tumultuous, nearly 700-page The Brief of History of Seven Killings, a fictional account of the attemp­ted murder of Bob Mar­ley in 1976, was described by the judges as “very exciting, very violent, full of swearing”. They added, “It was a book we didn’t actually have any difficulty deciding on—it was a unanimous decision, a little bit to our surprise”. It was the favourite to win, ahead of Indian-origin British author Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways and Ann Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread. James, 44, dedicated the award to his late father with whom he used to have Shakespeare duels in his childhood, saying, “Who can have the longest soliloquy...just imagine a father and son in a Jamaican rum bar”. Cheers to that.


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