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“It's one of the most exciting, powerful and funny reads of the year”: Stylist's verdict on the new Man Booker prize novel

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Francesca Brown
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With Jamaican author Marlon James crowned the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015 last night, Stylist's Francesca Brown explains why his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings should leap straight to the top of your to-read list. 

Marlon James will be speaking at our exclusive Stylist Book Club at Stylist Live tomorrow, Thursday 15 October. Book your ticket right here

Last night Marlon James’ A Brief History Of Seven Killings became this year’s Man Booker Prize winner.

Beating off stiff competition from Hanya Yanighara’s A Little Life and Sunjeev Sahota’s Year Of The Runaways, it’s a brilliant book that fully deserves the title.

Like The Wire in novel form, it spans Seventies’ Jamaica and Eighties’ New York and features more than 75 characters (thankfully there’s a helpful index of names for readers who might lose their way). Each chapter is told from a different character’s viewpoint – a device that James himself described as tricky to orchestrate: “There was a spreadsheet that went into it, there really was! It was the only way to keep track of everybody.”

It’s also one of the most exciting, powerful and, at times, funniest reads of the year. Once you start it – you will become utterly absorbed in a story that is partly based on the real-life assassination attempt of Bob Marley. With music, politics, violence, personal desires and ambition weaving in and out of the words and a musical backdrop that encompasses everything from Bob Marley, the Rolling Stones, Gregory Isaacs and even Barry Manilow, it’s been described as a ‘tour de force’ by many critics. Which pretty much nails it.

Pick it up and give it a go. You’re in for a treat.

A Brief History Of Seven Killings (£8.99, Oneworld)

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Francesca Brown

Francesca Brown is books editor for Stylist magazine and Emerald Street; she also compiles the Style List on a weekly basis. She is a self-confessed HBO abuser and has a wide selection of grey sweatshirts. Honestly, you just can’t have enough. @franabouttown

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