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The Book of Night Women

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The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel, a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. Even at her birth, the slave women around her recognize a dark power that they and she will come to both revere and fear.

The Night Women, as they call themselves, have long been plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans. But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy's weak link.

Lilith's story overflows with high drama and heartbreak, and life on the plantation is rife with dangerous secrets, unspoken jealousies, inhuman violence, and very human emotion between slave and master, between slave and overseer, and among the slaves themselves. Lilith finds herself at the heart of it all. And all of it told in one of the boldest literary voices to grace the page recently--and the secret of that voice is one of the book's most intriguing mysteries.

417 pages, Hardcover

First published January 17, 2009

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About the author

Marlon James

36 books4,502 followers
Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer. He has published three novels: John Crow's Devil (2005), The Book of Night Women (2009) and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were both in the Jamaican police: his mother (who gave him his first prose book, a collection of stories by O. Henry) became a detective and his father (from whom James took a love of Shakespeare and Coleridge) a lawyer. James is a 1991 graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he read Language and Literature. He received a master's degree in creative writing from Wilkes University (2006).

James has taught English and creative writing at Macalester College since 2007. His first novel, John Crow's Devil — which was rejected 70 times before being accepted for publication — tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in 1957. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, is about a slave woman's revolt in a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century. His most recent novel, 2014's A Brief History of Seven Killings, explores several decades of Jamaican history and political instability through the perspectives of many narrators. It won the fiction category of the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, having been the first book by a Jamaican author ever to be shortlisted. He is the second Caribbean winner of the prize, following Trinidad-born V. S. Naipaul who won in 1971.

(from Wikipedia)

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Profile Image for Rowena.
501 reviews2,516 followers
December 2, 2015
Updated review (November 8, 2015)

"Every negro walk in a circle. Take that and make of it what you will. A circle like the sun, a circle like the moon, a circle like bad tidings that seem gone but always, always come back.”- Marlon James, The Book of Night Women

When I first read this book in 2012, I didn’t think I would ever read it again. The depictions of violence were really hard to read, mainly because I knew that although they were fictional, they were probably very representative of what had taken place to people who looked like me. However, I decided to bite the bullet and read it again, mainly because Marlon James was going to be at one of the events I attended a fortnight ago, and also to see how differently I read it the second time around.

I’m so glad I did reread it. There was a lot to take in during the first read and in retrospect I don’t think I could have seen enough the first time around. Also, with additional knowledge of slavery, and also with being familiar with the story from my first read, I was able to understand the story at a much deeper level. I was even able to look more closely at the other stories I had “missed.” For example, the “romance” of sorts between the main character, slave Lilith, and the Irish overseer, Quinn, a romance that came about due to two lonely people, lonely for different reasons. When we may often see homogeneity in whiteness, it was clear from this book that that was not the case in the colonies, and there was a rigid hierarchy of race, even within whiteness. A book that was recommended by my favourite professor is “How The Irish Became White”, and in this book it was interesting to see how the Irish man was treated by the English, French etc.

To me, this has been a lesson in the benefits of rereading. My first read left a very visceral reaction; I felt indignant and angry, almost nauseous at times. I felt things weren’t fair and that the atrocities that happened to slaves were never atoned for. I know I’m a sensitive reader and reading this gave me a helpless feeling. The pain was too real, the lack of support that these people received, mainly because they were black and not considered capable of worthy thought, subhuman in fact, was always at the back of my mind:

“You tried to use the mind, the brain, but you silly girl, those things are lost to the negro. What you have is a back that won’t break, a skin that won’t crack, legs like an ox and teeth like a horse.”

During my second reading, I was also struck by the cognitive dissonance of the slave-owners; the fact that the black were the ones who were considered uncivilized and subhuman, yet it was the so-called “civilized” Europeans who came up with so many inhumane ways to shame, humiliate, hurt and destroy these people, was something that made me wonder how could they could see their cruel actions as acceptable. I would not want to live in their heads.

In spite of the harsh and graphic content in this book, I would highly recommend it. There were moments of triumph, in spite of the situation the characters find themselves in, and Marlon James is a great storyteller.

Original review from 2012

This book is about slavery in 19th Century Jamaica. It took me a while to get into this book because it is written entirely in Jamaican dialect (including the narration). Once you get used to that fact, the writing is quite charming.

This book brought out lots of emotions in me, mainly disgust and anger. It is extremely graphic in its imagery so definitely not a light read. It made me absolutely sick to my stomach reading about how the British colonialists treated slaves of African descent. It was hard to read about the lynchings, the rapes, the murders for making "mistakes" like serving tea that was too hot, the racism, the stealing of babies from their mothers, the depiction of blacks as lazy, dirty, stupid.....*sigh*

Despite the difficult subject matter, I gave this book 5-stars for a few reasons. Firstly, a book that's able to elicit such emotions from me but makes me want to finish it is obviously written well. Secondly, the historical explanations helped make the story seem more real. Thirdly, the writer's gift at using different styles of writing (British, Irish, Black etc) and his injections of humour and wit at the most unlikely places made the story more entertaining and believable,in my opinion.

I don't think I can read this book more than once, it was honestly too painful. I'm really glad I read it though.
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
February 10, 2017
It is a rare author that could make me like and remain interested in, even after I finished the book, a character who killed a lot of people, including burning children alive. It is the first book I've ever read about slaves where I understood slavery from the slaves point of view. I've read many slave memoirs where I have sympathised, been terribly moved and angry at the injustice, but I've never really understood how slaves carved out lives within the tiny sphere of self-determination they were allowed. It took a work of fiction to do that.

The only things I would say to anyone going to read the book is that it does take a bit of getting into (but it all makes sense later) and get the audio. Print won't do it for you in the same way. If you've never listened to an audio book, make this your first.

One day Marlon James will be in line for the Nobel Prize.

Notes on finishing the book:
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 13, 2018
this book hurts. in so many ways. initially, it hurts to get acclimated to the narrator's voice. whenever i read books written in dialect it always takes me at least 40 pages to start to get the hang of it (i curse you, irvine welsh!!) and then it hurts because it's such a raw and bloody depiction of the physical and emotional bullshit of slavery. and then after it's all done, it hurts that it's so well written, you just want more of it. so i'm awfully glad i broke my promise about "not buying any more hardcover books." this one is worth hardcover price.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Richard.
999 reviews382 followers
January 12, 2016
"We not getting free, we taking free."

This book floored me. Seriously. I was so stunned by the time I finished that I couldn't sleep for a while, even though I had to be to work on set at 6am the following day! The Book of Night Women is the best coming of age novel I've encountered; it really is unlike anything I've read before. Night Women, Marlon James's second novel, follows a mulatto girl named Lilith, who is born into slavery in late 18th-century Jamaica, and the eventful year after she turns 15 at the Montpelier Estate. Lilith catches the eye of Homer, the strong-willed head house slave, who recruits her to join a quorum of five other women, who are plotting an island-wide slave rebellion.

One of the things that's so impressive about this novel is how fascinating this coming of age concept is, illuminating the horrifying effects of slavery in a unique way that we've never seen before. It's commonly known how difficult it is being a teenage girl, dealing with the growing pains of puberty, sexual awakening, mood swings, self-discovery, and the need to assert independence and be seen as a woman. Now imagine all of this happening while the only world you know is one of complete oppression and total lack of freedom or positive influence. This idea is ripe for exploration and Marlon James leaves no stone unturned. How would a young girl handle being touched with kindness when all she knows is being touched with violence? How do you handle the already confusing matter of being mixed race during a time when skin color defines everything? It's unsettling, frustrating, and ultimately engaging to watch the process of Lilith growing from a girl to a self-aware woman throughout the book. And this concept of coming of age as a slave is something that I feel no one else has ever done ( Someone Knows My Name might be the closest), at least not this powerfully, showing the horrifying effect of slavery in a unique way that we've never seen before.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see how hyper feminist the story is. There are only a couple main male characters and almost no primary male slave characters. It's kind of a breath of fresh air as there are hardly any strong female characters in classic slave narratives and here, the entire revolt plot is planned by strong women all over the colony. They don't involve men because they don't believe that men have enough rational brainpower to really handle this! Here, it's the women that are totally badass, calling the shots, packing muskets and machetes and Obeah spells, and it always feels genuine.

The cherry on top is of course the author's skillful writing. He's a natural and the prose is epic, poetic, and probably the most challenging of all his novels. While both John Crow's Devil and even the dense A Brief History of Seven Killings (which I'll be rereading soon) have heavy loads of Jamaican patois, Night Women is COMPLETELY told in patois and I could imagine it no other way. It helps to provide a totally original voice. Although I had no problem with it as I grew up in the Caribbean, I expect many readers to have a difficult time. But, I think the plot and the amazing characters are easier to grasp and more accessible than either of those other books. And for anyone that has a problem with the vernacular, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook as well. I jumped back and forth between the paperback and the audio and Robin Miles's narration is the best audiobook performance I've heard. She's a complete chameleon with accents and really accentuated the drama!

So as you can tell I adored this book and I immediately added it to my list of favorites. It's a total masterpiece from the beginning all the way to it's extraordinary ending that James NAILS like a master conductor! This is a powerful piece of work and I believe (and sincerely hope) that this book will ultimately be considered a literary classic in years to come. Bravo Marlon James! Bravo! A+
Some fire don't go out, they go quiet under the ash, waiting for one little dry stick to feed. So the white man sleep with one eye open, waiting for the fire next time.

That fire coming.

Profile Image for Michael.
655 reviews964 followers
February 14, 2020
Broad in scope and full of suspense, The Book of Night Women tells the tale of a fictional slave rebellion in 18th-century Jamaica, through the life story of a single enslaved woman. The historical novel follows Lilith, the biracial orphan of a deceased Black woman raped by one of her plantation’s overseers, from youth to adulthood, as she endures countless indignities at the hands of white colonists, struggles to connect with other slaves, and longs for liberation. At the core of the novel is Lilith’s fraught relationship with Homer, an older slave who acts as a surrogate mother, as well as her ongoing effort to understand her relationship to womanhood and Blackness. As Lilith comes of age, her and other slaves’ resentment toward British oppression boils, acutely aware as they are of the recent Haitian Revolution, and the slow-burning novel culminates in explosive violence. James’ prose is as captivating as his storytelling, and the novel’s easily one of the best of the century.
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
January 12, 2016
I dnf'd this book because I swapped to audio (proper review there). I wanted to read this book because of this review which made me laugh:

"I have spent the last week or so with words going through my brain that one cannot use in the real world. There was not only the oft-repeated word for a black person that was common in the 18th century, but there was constant use of the c-word and the p-word for female genitalia and the c-word for mail genitalia and the f-word for what the f-word really means."

Why can't she just say cunt, pussy, cock and fuck? It didn't kill the author. What is she so worried about, that she might fall off her moral high pedestal if she utters them?

Since she listened to the book she can't use a black marker in the book that another reviewer I read does (I hope they aren't library books). It makes you laugh, doesn't it?

So I'm going to read it.
Profile Image for Agnieszka.
258 reviews932 followers
December 31, 2017

Truly powerful stuff. And harrowing report of human misery. The novel is literally dripping with abuse and violence both verbal and physical. Directed at slaves. But there is a slave and slave. The book of night women is about inhuman, barbarous treatment and punishing system, it’s about cruelty and humiliation delivered not only by masters but also by slaves to themselves, men to women, women to women. The story told here is a spiral of terror and brutality. It’s nothing like saccharine pictures you may remember from Gone with the wind. There is no trace of good missy and her faithful maid. Men, no matter of colour of their skin, seem to think only about one thing. No wonder it were women who had to take the bit in their hands.

Language is extremely rude, salacious and vulgar at times, primitive even, additionally Marlon James uses Jamaican patois what at times may be a bit trying but after some pages you rather don't mind it at all. I haven’t read much novels concerning slavery but only this year I read two books dealing with the theme. This very one and generally praised The Underground Railroad. It’s hard to avoid comparisons now. But it was the novel by Marlon James that won me over, that truly moved me, that shook me to the core. Some images and words still haunt me and I can’t get rid of them now. The brutality and atrocity feels so painfully real and tangible that almost knock you down. That choke you. I thought it was bloody brilliant. I mean that. It was bloody. It was brilliant. And I believe that the plunge into that heart of darkness won't leave anyone indifferent.

Profile Image for kisha.
101 reviews113 followers
April 28, 2022
I just finished rereading this and some of my thoughts have shifted a bit. I had last given this book 5 stars. This time I'm giving it 4 stars. The author has a weird obsession with lady parts. He must have implemented his obsession with lady parts in at least every other page of this novel and almost every time it brought nothing to the plot. I will do a new review later but for now my old one is below.

"Every negro walk in a circle. Take that and make of it what you will."

To call this book amazing would be an understatement. This is the kind of book that you read and already see the movie and visualize what actor/actress will play what character. This book immediately comes to life from the first sentence. I read the first paragraph on Amazon and knew that I had to read this novel. Marlon James's use of the color red was brilliant, especially in the first paragraph. I believe that the hidden and forbidden truth about slavery was revealed in The Book of Night Women. This story was told like no other slavery story I had ever read or watched. What we got was the harsh truth. I loved the language which is something most people who gave it few stars didn't like. But the Patois dialect is what gave the book a real feel of not only slavery but Jamaica. It wasn't very hard to catch on to even for someone who isn't familiar with Jamaican patois. The many themes of this novel are impressive; slavery, love, hate, slave/master relationship, rape, oppression, independence, strength, womanhood (black and white), sisterhood, survival...I could go on and on. Amazing!

Never have I read a book that brought out so much emotion. One minute I was angry at not only the characters but the author. How dare he write such a dark, sedistic, and cruel book. Then there was the crazy and animalistic life that the slaves were forced to call their own. Then next moment I'd laugh at the sarcasm and pride and personality of these women especially Lilith. But most intriguing, this book was mind-provoking. It will challenge every thought and every lesson you were taught about slave history, Jamaican, and even American history. And some parts in the book you'd find yourself even sympathizing for the villian of the 19th century (white slavers).

Character development was so complete on each and every character. When you finish this novel you feel as though you've known each character personally. That amazes me too because so many authors fail in the development of characters. What I also liked about this book is that in my opinion, none of the characters were very likeable. Not a single one! You have to be a genius of a writer to successfully write a novel taking place in the 19th century filled with all distasteful characters and yet the characters are still relatable. But it was okay because the characters were so well developed that you understood why they were who they were. And most had redeeming qualities.

My warning to anyone reading this and not knowing much about it; this is a very emotional read. It's very raw, indecent at times, vulgar, and descriptive. If you don't like reading swear words or the N word than this book isn't for you because it is a bit overbearing in those areas.

Overall, the (main) message I received from this cruel historical Jamaican slavery reality, is that the world was designed to keep black people oppressed dating all the way back to the 18th century, by doing that in a way to teach self-hatred amongst the individual as well as each other. It makes me think of the stigma of black on black crime that has stuck with our people for so long. How so many young black men don't even know that it all results from slavery and how they are keeping themselves oppressed. Which is why education is so important. Which brings me to the beginning of I believe three of his chapters, "Every negro walk in a circle. Take that and make of it what you will." We are still walking in that circle today. I think it's no suprise there was a message and reason he kept repeating that phrase. They don't understand that knowing your history can make a world of a difference. Education is so important. It's life changing. When you know better, you do better. I think all young adults especially African American's should read this.

James did a wonderful depiction of Jamaican slavery that easily translated to American history. I absolutely loved this book. I wonder if he knew just how powerful this book would be when he wrote it. Now thanks to Marlon James, every book I have tried to pick up has been epic fail because nothing compares.
Profile Image for Lisa (NY).
1,550 reviews603 followers
December 28, 2019
Have I already read the best book I'll read in 2019? Lilith, a female slave, born in 1795 Jamaica, is one of most complicated, compelling women I have encountered in literature. I was totally immersed in her story even as I gasped in horror. (I recommend listening to the audio which was amazingly narrated by Robin Miles) The violence is unrelenting - as is the pain and torture and hatred. But how else can slavery be understood? It is a heart-shattering novel that I can’t imagine ever forgetting. Phenomenal!!!!
Profile Image for Monica.
621 reviews631 followers
May 3, 2020
Wow! An intricate, well driven plot with very complex characters. James is a masterful story teller! His novels are character driven and by the time the story ends, you understand the characters and their motivations. Even the most vile characters are given substance. He is an excellent chronicler of the human condition. So interesting and insightful and vibrant. James is a bit of a unicorn in that he understands and can write female characters who come across as authentic. The main character Lilith is complex, smart, naive, clever, immature, impulsive, stubborn, a little childish and self aware. Her journey in finding whatever freedom she can is a perilous and profound ride. Trigger warnings: It's a slave narrative. But the world building here is realistically drawn. Nothing seemed gratuitous. The book is excellent. No doubt enhanced by the brilliant audio book performance by Robin Miles. Yes it's true, I Monica (who generally doesn't particularly care for slave narratives) am giving this book 5 stars! Highly recommended.

5 Stars

Listened to the audio book. Robin Miles was spectacular!
Profile Image for Greg.
1,117 reviews1,876 followers
November 28, 2011

This song was running through my head for most of the second half of the book.

But no one ever changed the church by pulling down a steeple
And you'll never change the system by bombing number ten
Systems just aren't made of bricks they're mostly made of people
You may send them into hiding, but they'll be back again

Movements are systems and systems kill

(some ramblings about politics has been excised here)

Following the general theories of Marx, and discounting Rousseau's mythology about the noble savage, a fairly standard leftist response to a slave revolt is that it is bound to fail, in a revolutionary sense. Historically this may not be true, but the general idea is that slaves wouldn't be in a position to really grab control of the means of production and create a self-sufficent society while still having to exist in the European world that they had been unwillingly thrust in to. In the teleology of Marxist type thought there is no going back, history is a forward progression, even if there was a noble savage there is no going back to it, there is only forward through the 'Western' way of bourgeois capitalism and eventually to the pie in the sky communal eden. At the barrel of a gun people can be forced quickly through the historical stages by some oppressive regime that is just looking out for the revolutionary interests of all, but for the Marxist utopia to happen certain historical stages needed to have gone through, this is where a certain degree of personal freedom comes in to play.

Obviously, this book isn't deal with any kind of revolutionary Marxist sort of uprising, the events in the book taking place about forty two years before the Communist Manifesto was written and forty six years before the Paris Commune, but as the book unfolded I started to read this book not so much as a historical novel about slavery but a novel about the (im)possibilities of revolutionary violence.

The Night Women are a Nechayev styled vanguard cell among other cells spread out through other Jamaican plantations planning for the overthrow and killing of the White population. For the first part of the novel there is something noble about them, they are women who are planning on throwing off the tyranny of slavery by any means necessary (which means killing the white population and the black 'johnny jumpers', slaves who work for them and work as third rate slave drivers). Slavery is something most people would agree is awful and something that needs to be ended by extreme means. The barbaric and inhumane treatment that is described in this book I doubt would leave anyone thinking that the people responsible for the cruelties inflicted on the slave population deserve any kind of leniency.

For the first half of the book or so the progression is fairly straight forward. The reader is presented with the awfulness of the slaves lives and the rage boiling up and being planned by the women who have taken it on themselves to be brains behind the upcoming insurrection.

Then things start to get very fuzzy in the book. And I mean this in the best possible way. The lines between the good oppressed people and the evil oppressors is blurred. Not in a way that makes the one's heart go out for the oppressors and think, gee maybe these white people are actually doing the right thing, or maybe it would be good if the slavery continued or anything like that, but in the fashion that every (or just about ever, I should qualify that universal statement, even though I can't think of an example off the top of my head that would disprove it) self-styled vanguard of revolutionary ideas has ever winded up being oppressors in their own right the Night Women begin to be painted as being an evil themselves, although a lesser evil. The reader starts to see that the way the Night Women view the other slaves is that they are just about as expendable as the White masters see them. People are killed by the orders of the women and the excuse given is that they are more beneficial to the cause by being dead than being alive. And the entire insurrections goals come into question with the idea of what happens after, which is answered with hazy answers of a perfect world once the whites are gone that are in contrast to the very vivid plans for killing real and supposed enemies of the self-appointed organizers of the uprising.

I'm going on and on about something that I could just be reading into the book, but I started to see this as on the surface a story about slavery, but also about something more; sort of in the same way Animal Farm is on the surface a story about some talking animals (that might have come out wrong, slavery is much more important of a topic than talking animals). But, when there was the repeated conversation between the leader of the Night Women, Homer, and Lilith the books protagonist, where Lilith would say, something like, "You know, it take me a long time to see that all you have is a goddam mouth and two Obeah trick." and Homer respond, "Myal." (note, Obeah and Myal are both dark magic voodoo type things that practitioners of either one would say theirs is the right one and would praise their form over the other, but to outsiders they both look like the same dark and evil thing). These exchanges could have been Lilith calling Homer a Trotskyist and Homer responding, no I'm a Stalinist.

Ugh, I wrote everything above here about two weeks ago. And then I got lost in the review, and abandoned it. I failed to articulate what I was thinking so I spent the rest of the night trying to remember some song I heard a few months ago and who it was by. I failed at that task, too. But I did remember it finally the next day. It was "Weird on the Avenue" by The Frogs in case you were wondering and it isn't available on spotify.

Where was I going with the review? Slavery is a system and systems dehumanize and kill. Anti-Slavery, slave revolts are also systems, another us versus them, and those kill too, just with an inverted set of values plugged into the algorithm of stupid fucking violence. Another system, maybe one with a slightly more ethical backing of 'justice' working for it, but another basically blind, brutal, dehumanizing and murderous system. But is that to say that the violence of a system of slavery shouldn't be met with some greater form of violence to destroy it? But is it possible to contain that violence only in the cause of righteousness? Um maybe, but most likely not in history is remembered. It's this uncomfortable clashing of two opposing systems of dehumanizing violences clashing at at the narrator of the story is the really remarkable part of this novel to me. I like my books to have unanswerable conflicts and questions. This one has a great big fucking one. This is a great book, even if my incoherent attempt at grappling with the problems of violence have been tedious and painful to read, I would recommend reading this book.
Profile Image for 7jane.
683 reviews266 followers
June 17, 2023
2023 adding: Even now, when I think about this book, I think about Homer the most, not Lilith. I think about Homer's life, losses, intelligence, and stubborn will to live through all the obstacles and sufferings in her life. Just chewing on the facts, and thinking...


On a large Jamaican sugar plantation, the Montpelier estate, in 1785, Lilith is born into slavery. Growing up, her character comes to notice of the group of six slave women called the Night Women, who have plotted for years for a slave revolt, and they ask her to join them. Problem is, her loyalties seem to be divided and thus putting the possibility of the revolt in danger…

This is a rough read; those who ask ‘is this novel suitable for my impressionable teenager?’ sometimes don't need replies to know the answer. There are many things that make this book show how cruel the world of slaves once was. Firstly, this book has plenty of swearing in it (both those I’ve known and new-to-me), and the N-word is used plenty by both races. I’ll put the rest of the horrible things happening behind spoilers:

The last two years before the revolt see plenty of new changes: the change of the owner (whose family has owned the estate since 1721) and the overseer (who has saved the former from many messes of behavior). The possible new mistress and bride, miss Isobel, from nearby Coulibre estate (not a plantation, but French/Creole owned).

When I found that the new overseer, Robert Quinn, was Irish, I checked some history. Would he remember about 1740 and 1741 Irish famines? Certainly he would have heard of the 1798 rebellion. His

But this story is more of a plantation women story; it is they that plot and make the rebellion, though in the end it is named after one male slave, Atlas, because . Men of both races are surprised at who started the rebellion. And who writes the story? in 1819. Some of the story that is written in the book comes from Lilith, some from the ‘blind woman in the bush’ (if you read closely, you’ll know who that’ll be).

There’s a few things I noticed in the story that I could see:
1) speech and language: the fact that the slaves have to play stupid and not-knowing as a means of staying safe, the fact that Lilith mourns that she can’t tell secrets to when she would want to, that shipped-in slaves like Homer have to learn English and keep their own homeland-language suppressed most of the time, that sometimes miss Isobel slips into slave-style use of English, and thinking also about how the plan for rebellion was delivered on, and using abeng horns to signal the start (which were also used by the free Maroons sometimes).
2) that the ways of cruelty could vary by estate; you can compare Montpelier with the Coulibre estate where punishments came easy and often
3) the pregnancy things: how they avoided pregnancy, , the ones that were wanted and the ones that were not, the dangers of birth, getting a new wife to have more, suffering from barrenness ().
4) how I could see three women particularly standing out in the story: Lilith the estate-born mulatto, Homer the shipped-in (at ten years old) slave with a long grudge, and the possible new mistress and bride, Creole miss Isobel Roget; even as one of the villains of the story, it’s still interesting to observe her path also.

It is a cruel world, but history shows that while independence for the country is still over hundred years in the future, other things change (and I hope Lilith and get to see it): after the end of the book, there will the one great slave rebellion in 1831, but in 1838 there will come full emancipation for the slaves – many leave estate work then for good. Some things in the book are left a bit open, like , but those are just small things to be curious about.

This is a story of a long cruelty, and of one big rebellion among other rebellions that had happened on the island. Of a long run towards revenge, and of one of just surviving and not really wanting to have more experiences of blood. Of showing how cruelty can be delivered regardless of gender, race, or social status; and of power switching back and forth, history repeating. But it is also in the end of a look towards future and hoping for peace – so a book with a storm of cruelty ends in a calm and in words of remembering scribbled in the dark with a mind taking the power back where it should be.
Profile Image for Elena.
124 reviews995 followers
April 28, 2018

Jamaica, finales del siglo XVIII.
El comercio y explotación de esclavos para trabajar en las plantaciones de azúcar son el eje de la economía de esta colonia Británica.
El nacimiento de Lilith (la protagonista), una esclava fruto de las múltiples violaciones que sufrían las mujeres africanas y jamaicanas ya nos pone en aviso de que este va a ser un libro difícil y crudo.
En medio de esta ambientación, un grupo de mujeres se reúnen por las noches para planear una revuelta de esclavos que les de por fin la libertad.

En general ha sido una novela muy distinta a todo lo que había leído, que me ha gustado leer y de la que he aprendido muchísimo. Los ligeros toques de realismo mágico y las pinceladas de folklore propio y rituales han sido geniales. Algo que me ha encantado también es el hecho de que la historia está totalmente conducida por personajes femeninos: ellas planean la revuelta y no piensan involucrar a los hombres hasta el momento oportuno "because men are no good".
Quizá lo que ha podido fallarme un poco en general es ver algunas situaciones y personajes poco aprovechados o no explotados lo suficiente, haciendo que el ritmo de la historia sea algo lento.

Aunque lo recomendaría a todo el mundo porque creo que cuenta una historia muy importante y necesaria de conocer, no creo que sea un libro que vaya a gustar a todos. Marlon James ha hecho bien su trabajo de documentación, y no peca de dotar de defectos a los colonos y de virtudes a los esclavos. Todos los personajes tienen sus claros pero sobretodo sus oscuros.

Una de las características distintivas de este libro es el dialecto en que está escrito, el Patois, un dialecto Jamaicano (es inglés con influencias africanas). Esto puede ser un arma de doble filo, ya que puede costar acostumbrarse y hacerse tedioso hasta que te familiarizas con los términos. Aún así, y aunque a mi al principio me costó cogerle el ritmo, yo creo que dota de una voz muy personal a la historia, haciendo que el lector viva la historia des del punto de vista de los esclavos, leyendo todo lo que ocurre a través de su forma de ver el mundo y dándoles una voz, en vez de usar el inglés de sus entonces opresores.
Profile Image for Read By RodKelly.
206 reviews754 followers
October 8, 2019
"Every Negro walk in a circle, take that and make of it what you will"

So goes the powerful refrain that recurs and resonates throughout Marlon James's tale of unimaginable abuse and violent retribution on a magisterial plantation in 18th century Jamaica.

The novel tells the story of Lilith, a mulatto slave caught in the crossroads of history, aching to find an identity of her own in world in which destiny is a pathological cycle of pain and suffering, a winding road leading only to bloodshed and death. Lilith is one of the most complex female protagonists I've ever experienced. She is immediately recognizable and yet completely subverts all expectations. She is a paradigm of fearful aggression, sharp-tongued and fury-filled, mirroring the nastiness of her surroundings while walking in her circle, trying to fling herself out of the circumstances inherited through the accident of being born a slave. Each time she attains a station higher than her fellow slaves, she is swiftly knocked back to Earth, in ways commonplace to that infernal colonial civilization: raped, beaten, and tortured. Her eventual relationship with the Irish overseer, Robert Quinn, is a complication that forces her to make a decision between rebellion or being marked as a traitor and killed as a consequence for her disloyalty. The novel's bloody and agonizing climax is an inevitable moment that ends a novel that masterfully captures a society of barbarous villainy, more vivid than any other slavery-era story.
67 reviews407 followers
January 29, 2010

Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.
-- African proverb

In 1750 or thereabouts, a British man named Thomas Thistlewood became restless after failing to establish himself as a farmer (would you expect a genius to take to farming?), boarded a ship headed for Jamaica, arrived to find a land quite welcoming to white folks (despite the fact that 95% of the countryside population was black), and settled in for the life he so richly deserved. Thistlewood’s diary details all of the great fun his thistlewood had upon arrival – 13 women on 59 occasions in his first year on the island; hundreds over the course of his thirty plus years. Did you know that Jamaican women love the white man’s penis? He even took some time away from poking the natives with his thistly prick to invent stuff. Maybe you’ve heard of Derby’s dose? No? It’s an ingenious form of punishment designed to keep the slave population subdued. Here’s what you do: you find a slave who needs to poop (Thistlewood found a slave named Derby who famously loved prunes), you force that slave to poop into the mouth of a slave you want punished, then you wire that slave’s poop-filled mouth shut for a few hours. You don’t want them contemplating an uprising, do you? Of course not. You may also have to chop off a few heads here and there and display them in the slave quarters. Branding their tits, pussies, balls, and cocks and sticking hot pokers up their asses also gets the job done. Nothing’s off limits when it comes to keeping these people in check, folks. Public school teachers should consider similar tactics. The heathens may outnumber you, but they can’t outthink you.

That made me feel dirty.

As I reached the end of Marlon James’ brilliant novel, The Book of Night Women, I found myself thinking that Quentin Tarantino would love this book. The book is so drenched in violence that the reader can do nothing but stomach it if she has any hopes of understanding the story. She can’t skim pages until it’s over because it’s never over. Similarly, if you attempted to cover your eyes and ears during every violent scene in a Tarantino film, you’d miss half the film and most of the point.

Once I had Quentin Tarantino on the brain, I realized that he would also love this book because it is a lot like his latest film, Inglourious Basterds. Without spoiling the movie for those who haven’t seen it or the book for those who haven’t read it, I’ll just say that Tarantino attempts to use the power of cinema to rewrite the past and James uses the power of the novel to take history to task. In his acknowledgments at the end of the book, James gives thanks to the history he learned and the history he had to unlearn. I don’t want to imply that this book completely rewrites the history of Jamaican slavery. I'm confident that it is more historically accurate than Inglourious Basterds, but it’s the idea of turning the tables, of reappropriating the past, that I’m trying to get at.

Don't just listen to me, though. In a brief discussion that can be found here on Goodreads, Marlon James says that he is obsessed with the past, specifically with the stories that haven't been told yet, and that this novel is a reckoning with history. James says that he's interested in the lion's point of view. If James keeps writing books like this one, I do believe the lion would be honored to have him as its historian.
Profile Image for Britt.
111 reviews56 followers
November 4, 2015
This book was amazing. I often get caught on an idea about what makes a good book and then books like The Book of Night Women comes along and basically says "No, THIS is what makes a good book". I appreciate how deliberate James was with his character development. I was concerned throughout the book that Homer would be some magical Negro that would be there to perform her superhero magic and save the day, but then we get into her flaws and I loved her complexity more and more as the book progressed. Lilith, poor Lilith, I think is so many of the little black girls we know and love today. She struggles to maintain control of her mind, body, and spirit while in an environment that is constantly trying to deface her beauty. I really loved the ending and that James didn’t necessarily leave the story on a redemptive note, because the pain, the fire is still there and as far as the ending is concerned in my eyes there are still debts to be paid.
Loved this book!!! It was like the movie Rosewood, but the black anger is turned up to level 10.
Profile Image for Matt.
752 reviews533 followers
September 19, 2020
Stirring and depressing is this Bildungsroman about a girl/woman born as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Jamaica at the end of the 18th century.

Full of violence is this text – verbal and above all physical – and written in a language, Jamaican Patois, which was not easy to access for this ESL, but which I was able to get used to.

Intense, in every respect.

Whoever is not deterred by all of this will be rewarded with a book that will have a long & lasting effect.


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Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,366 reviews224 followers
August 27, 2023

Геената на робството пламти из всяка страница, излязла от начупената ямайска реч на начупените човешки души в плантацията на Монпелие на о. Ямайка, лето Господне 1801. Средната продължителност на живота на ямайски роб по онова време е 7 години. Смъртността многократно надвишава раждаемостта, което стимулира търговията с пресни партиди роби от Африка. На Ямайка, за разлика от САЩ, робите съставляват 90-92% от населението (в САЩ са около 30%). И не са кротки.

”EVERY NEGRO WALK IN A CIRCLE. TAKE THAT AND MAKE OF IT what you will.... The same circle of living that no nigger can choose and dying that come at any time.”

Дори и в Ада се появява по някое изключение, бяло или черно, с неумряла все още човечност. Тази човечност тлее пред угасване, чакаща появата на подходящото поколение, когато човек ще е свободен най-сетне да бъде човек, но това няма да е през 1801 г.

Любов, приятелство и семейсто не може да има, докато има само господари и роби. Няма мъже и жени, деца и бащи, приятелки - само господари и роби, бели и черни. Но има чувства и копнежи в безмилостен концентрат, които така засмукват читателя, че страниците започват да недостигат.

Историята на плантация Монпелие е предадена през погледа на онези, които мълчат, и изричат единствено “Да, господарю” и “Не, господарю”. Езикът им е накъсан, ръбат, откъснат от африканските и английските си корени ямайски диалект, като самите тях. И звучи като песен. Марлон Джеймс обръща с хастара навън всички читателски настройки, и ако читателят го понесе, всички пластове на съвременността са отмити, суровата жила на 1801 г. е изкарана на повърхността и наградата си заслужава, защото вече вижда през очите на всеки един роб от плантацията. На този счупен език, който изгаря префиненото ухо със своите не повече от 100-200 често завалени думи с липсваща граматика, е разказана с библейски размах историята на първородния грях и на Лилит. Непокорната първа жена на Адам, изгонена от рая. Непокорната жена с неправилната черна кожа и не по-малко неправилните зелени очи, онази, която ще понесе всичко, но ще упражни изцяло лично, по старозаветен образец, своето право на възмездие за понесените издевателства.

”What can a niggerwoman do but endure? What can me do but tell the story? Who is there when we recall great womens? My name write in blood and me don’t answer to it much.”

Марлон Джеймс е изградил грижливо всеки детайл и лице от бялата и от черната страна на оградата. Нито едно парченце от пъзела не е самоцелно. Не е спестил нищо и не е оставил и най-малкия шанс читателят да остане невинен. Вкарал го е в главата на всяка една мятаща се душа в Монпелие и го е превърнал в съучастник във всеки един варварски акт. Показал е взривоопасната смес от просвещенските идеи на 18-ти век и неугасимите с нищо стремежи да останеш човек с робската институция.

”For somebody must give account of the night women of Montpelier. Of slavery, the black woman misery and black man too.”

Темите, които Марлон Джеймс с неустоима страст е разстлал, са повече от една, и далеч не всички са социални. Робството, разбира се, е водещата и най-ужасяващата, с дехуманизиращото си опустошително въздействие и върху бели, и върху черни. Но също така има и интересен поглед върху положението на жените в колониалното бяло общество и неговите фалшиви норми, базирани на съвсем различна действителност отвъд океана. Има го и въпросът кога престъплението е оправдано, и може ли и как да се озапти звярът, готов да завие във всеки при определени обстоятелства. И дали средството не е сред страниците на една книга и в една любов? И не на последно място е зараждащата се островна култура, с нейната еклектична смес от африкански ритми, духове и черна магия, и намигването от Джейн Остин сред уеджудски порцелан и бални зали, спомени за пирати и слънчеви води. Вечната магия на живота, която дори и 1801 г. не успява да унищожи.

А Лилит, Куин, Омир, Хъмфри и Изабел, да не говорим за папа Джак, дълго ще са ми тема на размисъл.

⭐️4,5 звезди⭐️

П. П. Много бих искала да видя книгата адаптирана във филм или преведена на български, но последното ще е подвиг...
Profile Image for nastya .
449 reviews289 followers
February 3, 2021
Wow. I loved this so much. This is a story of slavery and of incredible hate, abuse and violence. It's Marlon James after all, the violence can be sometimes gratuitous. But he is such an incredible storyteller. I couldn't stop reading, the story had such a pull and I was really in another world of Jamaican plantation. This is my second book of his after Black leopard red wolf and he is becoming my favourite author. I am definitely reading everything he'll publish.
Profile Image for Dave Marsland.
92 reviews31 followers
December 23, 2021
It's so difficult to review this book. It had been sat on my bookshelf for a decade and I kept making excuses not to read it. The truth is, I was scared of it. Scared of ugly truths. It's written in patois which takes a wee while to understand. It's a book about slavery, the fictictious slave master gives all his slaves Greek names because he has a predilection for tragedy. The violence is hideous and unremitting. But it's a compelling read, full of strong female characters. If you want to understand slavery then I implore you to read The Book of Night Women. Not for the faint hearted, but unforgettable.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,780 reviews1,458 followers
March 28, 2013
The Jamaican patois, narrated by Robin Miles, is remarkable. I was able to find this audiobook at Downpour!

If you choose to read this book, you simply must read this version narrated by Robin Miles, but you must pay close attention. The Jamaican patois isn't the easiest to follow, but it is worth the effort. The narration adds to the value of the book. You are a slave and you HATE the English estate owners, particularly Miss Isabelle. I do at least. I want to slap her and ..... The different character intonations make each one come alive, be that an uppity English woman, a crazy old mistress, a Johnny-Jumper, a field nigger, a house nigger. Lilith is an uppity teenager; most of us know what that means. Skin color hasn't a thing to do with that, at least not in the beginning. Then it gets more complicated.

This book is an immersion into another culture and time and place: a Jamaican plantation in the late 1700s / early 1800s. History is interwoven, but it is the atmosphere that swallows you up. A comfort read? No!

Humor? It is here, but sardonic. Black in more ways than one.

I have covered half. A little less than 8 hours remain.


Now, having completed it, all I can add is that if you dare to tackle the subject and if you think you are up to total immersion in the horrors of black life on a Jamaican sugar plantation, I cannot name a better book. Don't read it; listen to Robin Miles narration. I will definitely have my eye out for other audiobooks narrated by Robin Miles. Her performance definitely improved the book.

I have thought a lot about if the plot line is believable. Yeah, it is. Teenage girls and their emotions: are they stable, predictable, reasonable, logical? No.
Author 5 books139 followers
October 3, 2014
This is the worst book I've ever read in my life.I cannot discuss it without giving "spoilers," but I will say this: slave narratives are not the place to be fucking around.

James' language is crude, vile and lends nothing to the narrative. The narrative is hinged on over romanticized relationships between slaves and slave masters. In a very trite attempt to trouble the discourse or spark a nuanced discussion, Marlon James has successfully belittled the politics of enslaved black women of this time by reducing them to little more than catty, foul-mouthed and concerned with bedroom politics over all else-- even in times of upheaval and insurrection.
Profile Image for Perry.
632 reviews533 followers
December 8, 2016
Night Women Awaken Jamaican Slave Revolt
4.5 stars

Set against the backdrop of a lush Jamaican sugar plantation in the early 19th Century, the novel follows the life of Lilith born to a slave mother, sired by a white master, who seems to have powers of darkness. After fending off a rape, she is sent from her adoptive slave mother in the fields to slave in the plantation house. Despite being warned by the mother-figure slave in the house not to try to ingratiate herself to the new master newly arrived from England, she does so and after making a mistake in accidentally spilling hot liquid on the master's Creole lady friend at a social event, she is whipped mercilessly at the same time every day for weeks.

Eventually she is taken in by the master's best friend, an Irishman named Quinn, to serve at his home on the plantation. Around the same time, the mother-figure slave and several of her half-sisters (all sired by the former master) begin meeting in the early, early morning hours, the Night Women, to plan a slave revolt on the plantation as retribution and retaliation for the atrocities brought upon them.

Lilith is conflicted because Quinn begins to treat her like a lady and protects her from harm. Lilith is falling in love with Quinn as the slave revolt quickly approaches, but trying to maintain her animosity for how she has been treated. This is "the human heart in conflict with itself" that Faulkner described as the stuff about which great novels are written. Any further description of the story would be considered a spoiler.

The book is written in the Jamaican slave dialect, which is not that hard to follow once the reader gets accustomed to it.

The Book of Night Women is an intense, unsettling tale full of detail on the vicious, relentless torture and torment which the master and his henchmen inflicted upon the slaves. At points throughout, I could feel my blood begin to boil from some of the resentment the slaves must have felt for their pain and loss and the unmitigated inhumanity to which they were subjected.

The novel strikes sparks of vengeance in the soul.

Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,360 reviews796 followers
March 18, 2021
Who is there when we recall great womens? My name write in blood and me don't answer to it much.
1785 was the year of the birth of Grimm and De Quincey and a character named Lilith, apparently. Some of that can be taught in grade school and some of it cannot, although that barrier evaporates soon enough judging by the conniptions people are throwing over the concept of trigger warnings. Rape. Murder. Systematic savagery. The stuff of modern day dystopias and zombie adventures except it already happened, white people. Your whiteness attests to that. Skin your body and call yourself European all you like, the wheels turned with every iteration of this Jamaican plantation long enough for consumers of the 21st to long for the 17th and the 18th, and the turning's winning for you still. What? Aren't you pleased? Everyone loves to be on top.

Canon, right? The heritage Europe owes to Ancient Greece? What's in a name when Homer's a slave and Gorgon's a slave and Atlas and Pallas and Circe are gods and monsters and sorcerers and slaves, slaves, slaves. Slaves to the whip and slaves to the derby-dose and slaves to whatever the whites can conjure up in matters of piercing and flaying and burning. What do you get when the power of imagination corrupts its fountain of youth and whatever crimes that long ago Hellenistic Age was guilty of are revitalized, reborn, reincarnated onto a larger spread of geography and a more thorough wing of Thanatos. Demeter lived six months in Hades, but she still lived. Andromeda was chained to a rock, but she was saved. Iphigenia was sacrificed in some and rescued by divine intervention in others, but we still remember her name.

Story arc? Character development? Will that prevent the likes of this narrative from ever happening again? It's been two centuries. What is it about truth that scares you so fucking much.

In 1801, I have Belinda. Others may have Lyrical Ballads, or Atala, or even The Magus. If any of these works contain a mention of the likes of Lilith that fuels them, rest assured academia will have obfuscated the evidence to a tolerable level. Holism does not get a paper published. Politics do not put food on a table. If you're inherently political for belonging to a demographic with a heritage of being said food on the table, well. If you belong to more than one, there's very little you owe anyone. White male philosophers cry out the death of the world and the novel and whatnot entire at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st. Some would prefer to kill it all rather than watch their socially indoctrinated self-obsession choke on its own blood.

I didn't give this five stars cause I read underrepresented demographics to give myself a larger field of evaluation, not to praise a single work to the hills and assume that meant I didn't need to read Beloved and God's Bits of Wood and I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem and Omeros and forever more. I would've probably been rattled more into the full five territory had I not already read those four, but so it goes. If you haven't read any of those or this or perhaps another work that speaks of bildungsromans the Powers That Be would do anything to bury that you've been too uncomfortable to crack open as of yet, I'd advise you get on that. Don't you want to know what your civil conduct is made of?
No woman can afford to feel anything for a man in 1801.

White man sleep with one eye open, but black man can never sleep.

Rumour start to spread that it is woman who plan the whole thing, which make white man and niggerman, slave man and free man perplex, cause such devious and nefarious thinking was beyond the capabilities of the fairer sex, much less a bunch of goat-rutting savage womens.
In 1819, we had the publications of Shelley and Keats and Byron. None of them tell us much about how they came out on top, or what the bottom was made of.
Profile Image for fourtriplezed .
467 reviews100 followers
October 2, 2020
This novel by noted Jamaican author Marlon James, The Book of Night Women, was going to be a hard act to follow for me considering that I thought that his next, A Brief History of Seven Killings, was a modern classic. Yes I have read these out of publishing order but it has made no difference. This too can be considered the same, a modern classic.

The Book of Night Women is gripping! It is written in patois/slave dialect and that may take some getting used to by causal readers but for those that are up for the challenge it is an education of both the history and the spiritual times of slave era Jamaica and with that the never ending question of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. Let’s take that one step further, James, a male author may have also given us a feminist tale of female inhumanity to their fellow man. And it could be argued that all this was justified such is the powerful story he has presented. This is a violent book in both action and language but also strangely beautiful at times.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tamara Agha-Jaffar.
Author 6 books253 followers
September 6, 2020
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James is a sweeping masterpiece set in a late eighteenth century Jamaican sugar plantation. The central character is a slave named Lilith.

Born into slavery, Lilith is singled out because of her green eyes. She is fortunate in that she is not required to perform the back-breaking task of working in the fields. As soon as she is old enough, Lilith becomes a house slave at the Montpelier Estate. There she interacts with other house slaves and is taken under the wing by Homer, the female head house slave. She experiences close-up the inhuman and demeaning treatment of slaves by slave-owners and overseers. She recognizes the hierarchy among slaves and sees how they are pitted against each other. Eventually, she becomes embroiled in a slave plot to rebel against the slaveowners.

In addition to describing the horrific conditions of slavery, this coming of age story shows Lilith struggling to understand herself and her identity as a woman and a slave. She feels torn between two cultures, aspiring to be recognized and treated as a desirable young woman but constantly being reminded of how she is perceived as nothing more than chattel. Her back is riddled with scars as a result of the frequent lashings she receives. She witnesses the unimaginable brutality perpetrated on slaves. She gravitates between hatred for slaveowners and a strong desire for acceptance, recognition, and love. Her feelings become increasingly conflicted when she finds herself developing a push and pull attachment to the Irish overseer who shows her tenderness and consideration.

The novel bristles with detailed and graphic description of unimaginable acts of physical and sexual violence. Frequent references to human body parts, especially female body parts, punctuate the narrative. Limbs are cut, torsos are lashed, flesh is burned, eyes are gouged, heads are severed, and every orifice of the human body is raped, tortured, or both. Marlon James does not sugar-coat the violence. His explicit descriptions are not for the faint-hearted.

What makes this novel an astounding achievement is the narrative voice, the identity of which remains a mystery until the end. The narrative unfolds in the rhythm, dialect, and syntax of Jamaican English. The dialogue is rendered realistically. James captures the ebb and flow of the vernacular so adroitly that one gets the sense of overhearing an actual conversation.

A narrative voice that is spell-binding; a cast of well-developed, strong, and highly complex female characters; description that immerses the reader in time and place; and an intricate plot that captivates from beginning to end—these are just some of the factors that make this a remarkable achievement.

Very highly recommended.

My book reviews are also available at www.tamaraaghajaffar.com
Profile Image for BookOfCinz.
1,422 reviews2,558 followers
June 21, 2018
June 20, 2018
Bad feeling is a country no woman want to visit. So they take good feeling any which way it come. Some time that good feeling come by taking on a different kinda bad feeling.

I first read "The Book of Night Women" by Marlon James three years ago and decided to give it a re-read because I remember enjoying the book a lot.

The Book of Night Women is set on plantation in Jamaica back in the 18th century. It follows the lives of the plantation owners and the some Night Women as they plan a slavery revolt. We meet Lilith who was born on the plantation, her mother and father remains unknown for most of the book, however, her history is steeped in Plantation culture.

I said this before, its not often you come across a historical fiction based in the Caribbean, specifically Jamaica, that is told from very strong female voices. My favorite characters was Homer, she was the head house enslaved individual that knew the history and all the nuisances of the planation. Watching her navigate Massa's world and the Enslaved plantation was a great experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Marlon James' writing was spectacular. The patois took a little getting use to, but once you got into the rhythm of it, it was absolutely unputdownable.

A must read if you are looking for a well thought out historical fiction based in Jamaica.

February 2015
Marlon James can do no wrong. I really liked this book, it is not everyday you read a book about slavery in Jamaica from a woman's perspective in the Jamaican dialect. While the language did take a lot of getting use to, once you got the hang of it the book was unputdownable.
Great read.
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