Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review: The Book of Night Women

I received this ARC from Christopher Nelson with Penguin Group .
Publication date: February 19, 2009 by Putnam
Author: Marlon James
Rating: I did not complete this book, and so cannot give it a rating.
Grade: D = 18 and up (excessive vulgarity and profanity, violence, rape, and generally inhuman acts involved in slavery)
This book is a very bold, no punches held back, no mincing of words, look into slavery and all of the horrors and indignities that go with it. It has been called a very daring book, and I have to agree. Not only for the startlingly, unprettied look into life and human nature, but for the very writing style itself. Told in the slave narrative, it lacks proper grammar and quotation marks, there is no omniscient story teller with prim and proper English. The language only distracted me for the first page, and then I was pulled in and couldn't imagine the story being told in any other way. Simply stunning.
Why did I not finish the book? It was too much for me. To much profanity, too descriptive scenes of violence and rape, too much pain. I guess I prefer to look at truly horrible things through shades, something to block out the blinding monstrosities.
Book Description from the publisher:
The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel—a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling—that tells the story of a young slave woman on a sugar plantation in Jamaica at the turn of the nineteenth century, revealing a world and a culture that is both familiar and entirely new. Lilith is born into slavery, and 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 conspiring to stage a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age they see her as the key to and—as she reveals the extent of her power and begins to understand her own desires and feelings—potentially the weak link in their plans.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 recently grace the page—and the secret of that voice is one of the book’s most suspenseful, satisfying mysteries.The real revelation of the book—the secret to the stirring imagery and insistent prose—is Marlon James himself, a young writer at once wholly in command of his craft and breathtakingly daring, spinning his magical web of humanity, race, and love, fully inhabiting the incredibly rich nineteenth-century Jamaican patois that rings with a distinctly contemporary energy.
Passing it along:
If you would like to have my ARC copy of this book (the baby got a hold of it, so the back cover is a bit bent, and one page has the corner torn off but no words missing) please leave a comment. I will send it to the first person who leaves a comment telling me that they want it.


.Books by TJ Baff January 14, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

This sounds really neat. I would like the copy of it.

Book Lover Lisa January 14, 2009 at 2:38 PM  

Tamara is the first to comment, so I will be sending it to her as soon as a get a mailing address.

Anonymous,  January 15, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

Sounds like a pretty intense book. I had it marked down on my TB pile.

Anna January 15, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

Wow. This sounds like a really powerful book. I can see why you had trouble reading it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Toni January 15, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

sounds really intense.. I don't know if I am brave enough to read. But I do like to know the truth of matters of the past for better understanding and personal growth. Hum...

Luanne January 16, 2009 at 9:53 AM  

Wow - does sound intense. I'll be curious to see what Tamara's review is like. Enjoyed yours very much.

Literary Feline January 16, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

Like others have said, this sounds like a powerful and intense book. It sounds like it would be a worthwhile read for those who don't have a problem with profanity and graphic descriptions.

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