A Brief History of Seven Killings covers the twenty-five years from the lead-up to the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976 to the height of the drug war in New York City. We meet hundreds of characters, including dopers, dealers, illiterate stick-up-men, gangsters, journalists, CIA officials, lovers, fighters, and even ghosts. Told from these myriad characters’ perspectives, Marlon James’s intimate epic sometimes feels as though you’re scanning late-night radio, picking up cravings, rants, and fears. Some of them familiar, some strange. A Brief History of Seven Killings is as deep as dub, but reads as light as reggae thanks to James’s tremendous gift for prose. Like any great work of art, this one demands commitment, but pays you back handsomely for your efforts.
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Published: Riverhead Books - October 2nd, 2014
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Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2015
Those readers who prefer Emily Brontë’s gloriously dramatic and lush novel Wuthering Heights to sister Charlotte’s literary offerings are in for a treat with The Annotated Wuthering Heights (Belknap, $35), edited by Janet Gezari, English literature professor at Connecticut College. This handsome wide-margined volume is filled with art that helps recreate Heathcliff and Catherine’s world of Yorkshire at the turn of 19th century, as well as Gezari’s plentiful notes to help contextualize Brontë’s imagery and allusions. Peppered throughout are facsimiles of pages taken from Brontë’s poems and diary, which is a particular treat, and modern illustrations of the novel’s scenes. Altogether, these realize a bibliophile’s dream edition of this classic, and the perfect gift for Brontë devotees.
When Sarah Waters came to Politics and Prose, she described her new book as “a love story with a crime.” Set between the wars in London, The Paying Guests (Riverhead, $28.95) tells the story of Frances, a spinster of twenty-seven, who lives with her mother in a large, decaying house. With all the men gone, the women are forced to take in lodgers to pay for their home’s upkeep. The intrigue starts when Frances falls in love with one of the lodgers. In typical Waters fashion, what follows is a gripping tale of sex, passion, and murder. Waters is a meticulous writer, delicately and deftly able to capture a time period, mood, or even a mundane task and make it come alive. She always takes readers on a rollercoaster ride, and, as with her previous books, which include Fingersmith and The Night Watch, you may find yourself turning pages well past your bedtime.