Posted in Past Guests
Born in Jamaica in 1970, Marlon James’s most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. James is the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. James lives in Minneapolis where he has taught literature at Macalester College since 2007.
From A Brief History of Seven Killings
Dead people never stop talking. Maybe because death is not death at all, just a detention after school. You know where you’re coming from and you’re always returning from it. You know where you’re going though you never seem to get there and you’re just dead. Dead. It sounds final but it’s a word missing an ing. You come across men longer dead than you, walking all the time though heading nowhere and you listen to them howl and hiss because we’re all spirits or we think we are all spirits but we’re all just dead. Spirits that slip inside other spirits. Sometimes a woman slips inside a man and wails like the memory of making love. They moan and keen loud but it comes through the window like a whistle or a whisper under the bed, and little children think there’s a monster. The dead love lying under the living for three reasons. (1) We’re lying most of the time. (2) Under the bed looks like the top of a coffin, but (3) There is weight, human weight on top that you can slip into and make heavier, and you listen to the heart beat while you watch it pump and hear the nostrils hiss when their lungs press air and envy even the shortest breath. I have no memory of coffins.
Continue reading A Brief History of Seven Killings at Penguin Random House.
- “US Afflicted with ‘Third World’ Police, Says Author Marlon James” by Agence France-Presse in Paris. The Guardian. 11 September 2016.
- “Marlon James: I Don’t Believe in PG Violence” by Arifa Akbar. The Independent. 14 October 2015.
- “From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself.” The New York Times. 10 March 2015.
- “Violently Wrought,” Interview with Kaitlyn Greenidge. Guernica. 3 November 2014.
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