In addition, we are given a seat in the front row of explosions, murders, drive-by’s, political unrest, the tribulations of an American journalist poking his nose into places it shouldn’t be and CIA arrangements with broad agendas that lead to nothing. With such a varied cast, James is generous in laying out the full list of characters to reference. This novel is not for the reader who gets lost with names and story line; there is a large necessity to follow along and connect the dots until the very last page. It is admirable that Marlon James can navigate through such distinct dialects with comfortability, easily removing himself from the story and creating a space that allows the narrative to live on its own.
This is a novel for the reader who can enjoy a strategic film. The imagery in A Brief History gives the illusion of a thriller, with the undeniable ability to stand side by side with the 1991 classics “New Jack City” and “Boyz in the Hood.” What would make a film adaptation of A Brief History unique is the rhythm that it portrays of the Jamaican culture – the language, music and mentality for survival. We’d venture out to witness the ins and outs of the islands cartel system and its collaborations with its government as it stretches out into New York City and Miami. But that isn’t all: there are a multitude of spiritual Rastafari references that teach Jamaican philosophy, rituals and practices.