The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

The Book of Night Women

Marlon James

This novel of slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation in the 18th century is truly horrific. The story is told in the local dialect which can be difficult although it's worth persevering. There is the possibility of love developing between two characters of different races - but how can love flourish among this brutality? Some background facts would have been helpful either as an introduction or appendix. However it's totally compulsive reading.

Extract

-Me not nobody nigger. Learn this, when you can make out word, nothing the massa can do will surprise you. A nigger, he no got nothing. He got nothing. But when you can make out a word, that is something indeed. ... When nigger can read she can plan, if is even for just a minute. Make me tell you something else 'bout reading. You see this? Every time you open this you get free. Freeness up in here and nobody even have to know you get free but you.
-If the massa find out, you dead.
-If the massa supper spoil, you dead, what be the difference?



Parallels
  • The Long Song by Andrea Levy
  • In Darkness by Nick Lake
  • The Rainmakers Mistake by Erna Brodber
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Violence
Explicit sexual content