A Brief History Of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
Beginning in Jamaica in the mid 1970’s amid a particularly violent period of gang wars between groups supporting and supported by rival political parties, the book starts with the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. It covers the crippling poverty and awful violence of the slums, CIA interference in the region, and the role of the gangs in the cocaine trade in the US in the 1980s.
This was an amazing book, and a fascinating look at an important time for a country I should know more about as my future in-laws were born there. I did struggle with it at times because of the size and scope of it. There are a lot of characters and different voices, and I did have to look up some of the Jamaican patois.
The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
The only other David Mitchell novel I have read is Cloud Atlas, which I loved, and I enjoyed this just as much. A gripping story following a few characters from the late 20th century to a near future where people are living a much more local, self-sufficient existence in a world of depleted resources with little access to modern digital technology. They are caught up in a conflict between two factions of near-immortals.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
, by Susanna Clarke
After the previous two books, I probably should have picked something shorter, but if anything this is probably the longest. I read this once already, in about 2005 and remember loving it, but recall very little else about it.
It’s set in an alternate history 19th Century England, where magic once existed, but had died out and not been practised for centuries, until it returns via the two gentlemen in the title.
It mimics the style of 19th Century writers like Austen and Dickens, and well, it’s just wonderful.