Rants & Epiphanies
“Wisdom that will bless I, who live in the spiral joy born at the utter end of a black prayer.” • — Keiji Haino
“The subject of human creativity is not an ethnic-centric, but a composite subject.” • — Anthony Braxton
“… It is not my mode of thought that has caused my misfortunes, but the mode of thought of others.” • — The Marquis de Sade

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Brief History of Seven Killings || Marlon James’s New Book


Publishers Weekly declared that “no book this fall is more impressive than ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings,’ ” which comes out Thursday from Riverhead Books. In a review in The New York Times last week, Michiko Kakutani described Mr. James as a “prodigious talent” who has produced a novel that is “epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over the top, colossal and dizzyingly complex.”

Chunks of Mr. James’s novels, especially “Seven Killings,” are written in Jamaican patois. He describes himself as “bilingual,” fond of using dialect in speech and also to discuss serious questions of race, class and politics in the novel, but equally comfortable employing standard speech in interviews and the classroom, …

When we are taking our business out in the public, that’s not how you are supposed to speak,” he said of patois. “It’s an embarrassment” to older and middle-class …
“especially if they hear I’m an English teacher. ‘Why are you speaking broken English?As if this is something that needs to be fixed.”

“Embarrassment” isn’t the word i’d use. In Portugal there are people who still feel baffled that descendants of africans would speak their parents’ “native” language.

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