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The Book of Night Women Paperback – 1 Jan 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I also picked this book up in the departure lounge while waiting for a plane, and am I grateful that I did. I believe the picture also grabbed me as I didnt read the blurb, and as soon as I started the book I asked myself 'was this a mistake?'. The dialect took some getting used to, and at first I found myself reading over parts to fully grasp the content.For people who dont know about the greusome acts of slavery, this would be the perfect book to read. Once you get used to the foul language and shocking scenes of violence and witchcraft it tells tales of relationships between the slaves (in particluar Lilith who has had a hard upbringing being born on the plantation, who coincidentally has green eyes and who has a supressed spirit within her) and the slave masters who have their own issues as well as running the plantation. Love, jealosuy, shocking violence, murder and a coup d'etat kept me glued to the book, and once i'd finished it, I read it again as I had the patois down to a T:-)
I've since read 'John Crows Devil' by Marlon James which didnt quite reach the wow factor but was still a good read, this was more a religion vs witchcraft kind of story.

Money well spent!
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Format: Hardcover
Even as a reader of Jamaican descent I found it hard at first to read. The familarity of backra (white man), obeah (witchcraft), and duppy (ghost) made me believe I was travelling back in time to my past. You can't help but struggle with the language but at the same time be seduced by it. Once that obstacle is over the language and the plot are simple but very powerful. During intervals from graphic violence and sex the plot does become slightly blurred because there are a lot of characters to deal with. Nevertheless, the rich imagination of the story encourages the reader to finish the story. Fusing Ancient Grecian names with the plight of Jamaican slavery is all too good to put down. Good read.
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By Carol on 16 Oct. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Superb book. Came across it when Marlon James was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I wasn't particularly attracted to the subject matter of his most recent book (though I am now reading it after loving The Book of Night Women). I bought this book on the basis of good reviews from other readers and they were right. It's not an easy read because of the subject and because James paints a visceral picture of the violence and degradation of life on a slave plantation in Jamaica. However it was one of those books that stayed in my consciousness all the time I was reading it, and beyond. The characters are strong and incredibly well drawn, particularly women like Lilith and Homer. James captures the horror of slavery and also the emotional complexity of relationships between slaves and also between captors and slaves. He is a brilliant writer who deserves every success. Apparently his first novel was rejected 74 times. Those publishers must be kicking themselves now!
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