“As lyrical as it is hypnotic”
Shortlisted for the National Book Critic’s Circle award for fiction Winner announced March 2010
Described by the New York Times as ‘both beautifully written and devastating’, The Book of Night Women is a startling, hard-edged dissection of slavery. An epic novel of late-18th-century Jamaican slavery, it is also a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling.
At the heart of the novel is the extraordinary character of Lilith, a spirited slave girl struggling to transcend the violence into which she is born, her story narrated in one of the boldest literary voices to grace the page.
Overflowing with high drama and heartbreak, at its centre is the conspiracy of the Night Women, a clandestine council of fierce slave women plotting an island-wide revolt. Rebellions simmer, incidents of sadism and madness run rampant, and the tangled web of power relationships dramatically unravels amid dangerous secrets, unspoken jealousies, inhuman violence, and very human emotion.
Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in literature. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK OF NIGHT WOMEN BY MARLON JAMES
“An epic novel of the 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”
“Writing in the spirit of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own, James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable – even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are and undeniable success”
NEW YORK TIMES
“This is a book to love … hard to pick up, even harder to put down”
“A book as heavily peopled and dark as the night in this brutal place. It is a canticle of love and hate … The lasting inheritances of slavery cannot be forgotten, and through novels such as this one, history is felt”
“The author has carved strong and compelling female figures out of the harsh landscape of 19th century British-ruled Jamaica”
THE MIAMI HERALD