PositiveBookforumMarlon James’s epic and dizzying third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is anything but brief and describes far more than seven killings … Based on actual events, [it] delineates strategies of war in a world of men—gang lords, hit men, politicians, and CIA agents, to name just a few … James is not the first to suggest that Marley, who had attained prophet status and seemed to support Manley’s increasingly socialist vision, became a target of CIA-backed JLP leaders...but to the best of my knowledge, Marlon James is the first to go at this historical moment through fiction. This allows him to get inside the heads of brutal people, to fill in the gaps left by historical research, and to find the humanity (and even humor) in the grimmest of situations … If the purpose of reportage is to tell us what happened, and the purpose of fiction is to show us how it felt, then James has succeeded on both counts.
AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
RaveThe Washington PostAdichie is adept at describing her characters’ descent in dignity for the gambit of upward mobility … Ifemelu’s journey in America is informed by experiences of race that won’t seem new to black Americans, though they’re new to her. As an African, and more specifically, as a Nigerian Igbo, she’s not ‘black’ until she comes here … But beyond race, the book is about the immigrant’s quest: self-invention, which is the American subject. Americanah is unique among the booming canon of immigrant literature of the last generation. Its ultimate concern isn’t the challenge of becoming American or the hyphenation that requires, but the challenge of going back home.