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A Brief History of Seven Killings
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Group Reads - Fiction > Group fiction read- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The winner of our group fiction read for May 2018 is A Brief History of Seven Killings. Please discuss the book here.

There was a joint winner on the poll but this is a shorter book so I have picked this one. Look forward to discussing it with you


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12295 comments Mod
I think this will be an interesting one for discussion, there seems to be a big difference of opinion on the book's page, I look forward to see what everyone here thinks.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I’ve decided to get the audiobook as there is a lot of dialect in this one which I find easier to listen to. It’s 26 hours long!


message 4: by Pink (last edited Apr 26, 2018 01:36PM) (new) - added it

Pink I'll be joining in, I already have the audiobook so I'll be listening too :)


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12295 comments Mod
I think I will be using the audiobook aswell, from what I've read it might be helpful with the Jamaican dialect.


Leslie | 15985 comments I have access to the audiobook through Hoopla but I might see if my library has a print copy... in either case, I will be joining this group read.


message 7: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13634 comments Mod
I'll be away the first two weeks in May and I also have committed to joyin the Classic read here. Still this interests me; if you'll be still discussing it by the end of the month I may joyin in ...


message 8: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam toer (samtoer) I already read the book which I found fascinating and I don't mind rereading it.


Raul Bimenyimana | 739 comments I will definitely join in.


Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I will try and got hold of a copy, if I do I shall join as well.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I started listening to this today and am on chapter 3.

So far I have found it very violent and very confusing. I don’t mind the violence but I am struggling a bit to concentrate on the story because of the slang terms used (this is as an audiobook)

However, there are 80+ chapters so I certainly haven’t given it much chance yet!


Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Heather I've decided on the physical book after listening to a little free test version of the audio book. I got quite hypnotized by the sound but I realized my brain would probably explode trying to properly understand it all. I won't really get to it before the middle of May though.


message 13: by Bear (new)

Bear Reads Books (bearreadsbooks) | 4 comments I didn't finish this one last year when I tried. Same issue as Heather, I found the storytelling confusing. I am going to try again as an Audiobook. Any recommendations? Is the Audible version ok?


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

So far the audible narration is very good. It has lots of different voices. However, has Jenny said it is quite hypnotic and I’m definitely missing something. I might get the written copy from the library as well so I can keep track of the chapters and characters


Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Bear wrote: "I didn't finish this one last year when I tried. Same issue as Heather, I found the storytelling confusing. I am going to try again as an Audiobook. Any recommendations? Is the Audible version ok?"

I think the audible version (which is the one I've tried) is quite good from what I could tell. You being a native English speaker will probably also struggle much less than I did with dialect, however I am thinking it might be a good idea to have the physical copy handy, as it also contains a list of characters which - judging by the length of that list - might really help not to get lost.


message 16: by Jenny (last edited May 03, 2018 08:38AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments Hm, talking about it made me start this book a bit earlier than I had intended somehow, I kind of got sucked in. I am doing the tandem now, which is listening with a physical copy close by, so some parts I read as well.

I am in chapter 3 and I am really impressed by how James gives each character a distinct voice. The way they each tell their story brings them very much alive. The quality of the narrating voices of the audible version obviously helps that along as well.
I kind of fell in love with Sir Arthur George Jennings voice in particular.
I also quickly realized that I'll have be able to belly-breath my way through rather graphic descriptions of violence in order to read this book. Just as a word of warning in case people know they are very sensitive to that.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

So I listened to a bit more and at the moment, this book is not for me. I am dreading listening to it which isn’t right! I returned the audiobook. I may pick it up again if you guys all love it. Sorry


message 18: by Pink (new) - added it

Pink That sounds like a good decision for you, there's nothing worse, or more pointless, than reading a book you dread. I'm yet to start 😬


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I really don’t think my view is representative! I’m just not in the mood for a technically challenging read at the moment and I think this is that.

I really hope everybody else likes it and can’t wait to see your thoughts


Leslie | 15985 comments I ended up getting both the audiobook and the Kindle edition from the library based on these comments and a short test listen to the audiobook. I find that now I have the text, I mostly don’t need to use it but it is nice to have it just in case! After all, I just started today so I haven’t gotten very far yet.

I am guessing that “the Singer” is supposed to be Bob Marley...


Leslie | 15985 comments Here is a link to the Wikipedia article about the Peace Concert - I found this helpful in putting the various narratives in perspective.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_L...


message 22: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam toer (samtoer) Thanks Leslie


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

How is everybody getting on with this? Better than me I hope!


message 24: by Pink (new) - added it

Pink Erm, I haven't started yet! I keep trying to get other books out of the way first, but I'll probably dive into this at the weekend.


Leslie | 15985 comments While it has a lot of violence and dialect (something I hate reading - thank goodness I have the audiobook as well as the Kindle edition!), I found after a while that it was giving me a very good look at what conditions in Kingston were like in 1976.

I have just finished the 3rd section, which takes place in 1979. There have been so many killings that I am trying to figure out which ones are the 7 of the title...


message 26: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13634 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I started listening to this today and am on chapter 3.

So far I have found it very violent and very confusing. I don’t mind the violence but I am struggling a bit to concentrate on the story beca..."


Probably it was not the period for me to read it, but I found it so confusing that I had to stop it. It is really rare that I give up a book, but particularly now I feel as if I have to read only what I really like!!!!


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

LauraT wrote: "Heather wrote: "I started listening to this today and am on chapter 3.

So far I have found it very violent and very confusing. I don’t mind the violence but I am struggling a bit to concentrate o..."


This was how I felt. I think sometimes it's a case of right book but wrong time, however I am not sure I will try this one again


message 28: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13634 comments Mod
Same mind Heather!


Leslie | 15985 comments I have finished now -- I am not sorry that I read it but it is a book about ghetto living, gangs & drugs & violence, which I find distasteful. For me the best aspects were the political ones (the CIA involvement etc.). I did learn a lot about Jamaican history as I several times searched online about things that happened in the book.

Several of you have mentioned that it is confusing -- I found it to be so especially at the beginning but as I progressed the various narratives started to link up and form a picture. For me, a lot of the initial confusion was due to 2 things: 1) I didn't know anything about Jamaica really (culture, politics, history) & 2) the dialect. The characters (many of whom I was surprised to learn were real people or so closely based on real people that any Jamaican would recognize them) assume a background knowledge of terms & situations that I just didn't have.

For a somewhat trivial example, it took me a long time to figure out that what sounded to me in the audiobook as "bloodclat" (which I took as blood cloth with a Jamaican accent) was a common Jamaican swear word. (Do you think that this was originally a reference to female sanitary clothes used for menstruation? I can see that calling something that would be a curse!)

Interesting how even closely related cultures (such as England & U.S.) have quite separate curse words & all the Jamaican ones were completely new to me. Since most of the characters swore a lot, that really impeded me at first. After a while, I recognized that it was just swearing and the sense of the narrative became easier.


Leslie | 15985 comments Oh, and the final section answered my question about which 7 killings the title referred to...


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 12295 comments Mod
I started this late on Thursday night/ Friday morning in time for the readathon. I'm on chapter 28, so far I'm glad I got the audiobook if I had bought the paperback instead, I think the dialect would have me confused. I found the first narrator quite hypnotising, but I was snapped out when the second narrator came in. So far the violent nature doesn't seem to bother me. At the minute, it's similar to my experience with Sin City, that was so violent, but the filter across the screen helped make it easier to watch it since I had to watch it for school.


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