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The Book of Night Women Paperback – 1 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; 1st edition (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851687211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851687213
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

“With resonances of the eeriness of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and of the colonial inhumanity of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, James astutely meshes together a story which explores what freedom means and if it can ever really exist. Turning over The Book of Night Women’s final page, one feels a horrible and sobering sense of history’s nightmarish weight.”



"Marlon James's The Book of Night Women (Oneworld Publications) is one of those contemporary masterpieces that seems like it came out of the author's head, fait accompli. But of course it didn't. James is just a great writer, and he's conjured a complete and believable world – 18th-century Jamaica – and has got so deep inside his characters, most of them slaves on a sugar plantation, that the reading experience is immersive: any time you put the book down to, say, drive a car or get a sandwich, it's a shock. It pulls no punches, so be prepared to be knocked sideways."



"An epic novel of late-18th-century West Indian slavery, complete with all its carnage and brutishness, but one that, like a Toni Morrison novel, whispers rather than shouts its horrors."



"An exquisite blend of form and content."

(The Globe and Mail)

“I knew "The Book of Night Women" had me when I started waking at night to worry about its characters … [an] accomplished, terrifying … lacerating, literary work. It troubled and spent me, but I am grateful to him for it … It stands in the wake of Toni Morrison's transcendent slave literature, and it holds its own. … Sometimes we should read for comfort and bliss, and sometimes we should read for the sterner stuff that keeps us up at night.”

(The Plain Dealer)

“Lilith makes even the steeliest hearts shiver with trepidation. … a devastating epic of savage history, relentless oppression, and souls that refuse to be shackled. … James is such a sure, humane writer … a searing read.”

(Boston Globe)

"Lilith's narration is one of the novel's strongest features, written in the vernacular and carrying its own drum-like rhythm which is as lyrical as it is hypnotic."

(The Independent)

“James’s powerful epic depicts the ugliness of colonial life and the violence, depravity and degradation which form part of the everyday.”

(The Independent)

"This is a book to love … hard to pick up, even harder to put down."

(Boston Globe)

"Darkly powerful"

(The Plain Dealer)

"Writing in the spirit of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own ... an undeniable success."

(The Globe and Mail)

"An exquisite blend of form and content."

(The New York Times)

“I knew "The Book of Night Women" had me when I started waking at night to worry about its characters … [an] accomplished, terrifying … lacerating, literary work. It troubled and spent me, but I am grateful to him for it … It stands in the wake of Toni Morrison's transcendent slave literature, and it holds its own. … Sometimes we should read for comfort and bliss, and sometimes we should read for the sterner stuff that keeps us up at night.”

(Washington Post)

“Lilith makes even the steeliest hearts shiver with trepidation. … a devastating epic of savage history, relentless oppression, and souls that refuse to be shackled. … James is such a sure, humane writer … a searing read.”

(Chicago Tribune)

"this moving novel is a shocking read."

(Time Out)

"Brimming with drama and heartbreak"

(The Literateur)

"this moving novel is a shocking read."

(Star Magazine)

"Brimming with drama and heartbreak"

(Voice (Ethical Consumer))

“James’s powerful epic depicts the ugliness of colonial life and the violence, depravity and degradation which form part of the everyday.”

(The Guardian)

"Lilith's narration is one of the novel's strongest features, written in the vernacular and carrying its own drum-like rhythm which is as lyrical as it is hypnotic."

(The Guardian)

Review

"A book of rip and rhythm. Of violence and tenderness. Of the healing glance in all the hatred. It reads like Faulkner in another skin. It is a brave book. And like the best, and most dangerous, of stories, it seems as if it was just waiting to be told." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Book worm on 7 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The prose is gripping, from the first page. Un-put-downable. There are no bars held with the topics in this book, it is brutal and graphic and exceedingly brilliant.

The book is predominantly based on a single character, a slave girl raised on a plantation estate in Jamaica. The language is 19th century Patois, which brings you nicely in to the era the book was written. It covers the history of slavery in the 1700's without being too heavy, but at times is very graphic. The behaviour and injustice is at times heartbreaking but the writing leads you to a greater understanding of the level of suffering black people endured for freedom. The characters are well defined and the book flows so smoothly you will be on page 100 before you know it.

If you love books like The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker or anything by Toni Morrison - you will love this book.

I cannot wait for more by Marlon James.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By B. C. Creary on 4 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I brought this book whilst wondering around WHsmiths and the picture on the front cover of the book seemed to be calling me to pick it up, i brought the book and it has been both inspiring and one of the best books that i have read in a long, long time.

I was able to see things about my own identity that i didn't fully see before, words can't really explain what this book has done to me on the inside, only i will trully know. The person that wrote the first review is right this book needs to be passed down the generations.

Thank you Marlon James for writing The Book of the night Women...... It has changed me forever.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By V. Kamruddin on 22 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Read this book especially if you go to the West Indies - I picked it up when on route to Barbados - it is an amazing read. It put things in perspective when I visited a plantation house on the island. Today the house looks peaceful but the book reveals the brutality of the life of a slave and shows how they were trapped not only in the gruelling day to day workings of sugar production and the whim of the slave master, but also within the life amongst themselves with all its inherited tribal beliefs in superstition and the supernatural. Marlon James has created a masterpiece by using the patois of the slaves to reveal the dark heart within her life from which Lilith finds no escape.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lady Black on 17 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is essential for anyone interested in the experiences of the enlsaved in Jamaica, or if you just want to read a powerful that will blow and broaden your mind at the same time.
The Book of the Night Women details the experiences of Lilith, a unique girl in the midst of slavery. I have never read a book like this! 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison is about the closest but still - James' book is in a league of its own!
The narrative voice is so powerful and thought-provoking. I was absolutely amazed by the sotry and characters - found it difficult to even put down. Marlon James has acheived so much in writing a book like this! I just wish I could teach this novel in schools!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ayemadre on 11 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up randomly at WHsmith on my way to holiday and it proved to be a revelation.

This book is beautifully written, exciting, heartbreaking and a true gem which should be passed down from generation to generation.
The first few pages are hard to read because of the language which is mostly 19th century Patois and takes some getting used to but after two pages you completely stop noticing the 'different' language and become absorbed in this novel which is very very hard to read at times because of the violence and injustice and even harder to put down.

There were times while reading this that i became so angry because i was aware that many of these things actually happened. There were times i cried due to the heartbreaking story..

It is a book that demands respect and love.
I assure you, the first thing you'll do after reading this is reading about the history of Jamaica.

We need more writers like Marlon James.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alice Wright on 23 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in Jamaica, The Book of Night Women shows human hunger for love is one of the strong themes, but even greater is the bravery of some of the characters and their quest for dignity, and to a lesser extent the change in those with unjust power as time takes its toll on their consciences. Politics, religion, and stereotype are aspects of the novel that conveys the greed and limitations of some human beings in the past, and the importance of learning from and moving on from the past, especially when one thinks of the temptation of the pursuit of self-interest. Hypocrisy is something the author shows well via the few characters that have the desire to be be intimate with their own kind and 'the enemy', and this causes one to think about the fact that variety is, or can be, the spice of life (e.g. the characters Quinn and Massa Humphrey). Human cultures are well depicted in James' historical and realist novel, and the prejudices among them. (e.g. Caribbean; African: Igbo, Ashanti, Irish, Jewish, Scottish, Gypsy, English, Italian, French, Creole, working class, middle class). Minor corrections are the word Mosquito should be replaced with Miskito; and there were shops' counters for the exchange of goods, not only kitchen counters for abuse or fornication. Hair type is overgeneralised as hairdressers today are aware that Afo-Caribbean hair is often too fine for any straighteners or hot combs as it causes it to break, even when the person is not 50-50 mixed race. The novel's tone is unique and will cause the contents of your stomach to rise and settle again, depending on where you were born and raised, and how sheltered your upbringing was, regardless of your race, ethnicity and so forth, so some readers may want to take breaks in a few places while reading this novel.Read more ›
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