- Paperback: 232 pages
- Published: 8/1/10
- IBSN: 9781936070107
- e-IBSN: 9781936070893
- Genre: Fiction
The long-awaited paperback reissue of the acclaimed Jamaican author’s debut novel.
Marlon James is the winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings!
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize
“A powerful first novel . . . Writing with assurance and control, James uses his small-town drama to suggest the larger anguish of a postcolonial society struggling for its own identity.”
—New York Times (Editors’ choice)
“Elements coalesce in a Jamaican stew spicier than jerk chicken. First novelist James moves effortlessly between lyrical patois and trenchant observations . . . It’s 150-proof literary rum guaranteed to intoxicate and enchant. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Set in James’s native Jamaica, this dynamic, vernacular debut sings of the fierce battle between two flawed preachers . . . an exciting read.”
“A mesmerizing treatise on the nature of good and evil, faith and madness, guilt and forgiveness, eloquently captured in a microcosm of society.”
“John Crow’s Devil engages the political legacy of Frantz Fanon without sacrificing the power of fiction . . . There’s a temptation to compare John Crow’s Devil to novels by Toni Morrison or Earl Lovelace, among others, and there are certainly similarities to those works in this one. There is even an echo of Faulkner in the meticulous, multi-vocal rendering of conflicts entrenched in village life. But more important than any comparison is that James’ debut is very much its own book, and stands as tall on its own as it would with any other volume beside it.”
—Small Spiral Notebook
“Marlon James spins his magical web in this novel and we willingly suspend disbelief, rewarded by the window he opens to Jamaica (and a world) rarely portrayed in fiction.”
—Elizabeth Nunez, author of Bruised Hibiscus, winner of the American Book Award
“Pile them up, a Marlon James character says repeatedly and Marlon does just that. Pile them up: language, imagery, technique, imagination. All fresh, all exciting. This is a good book and a writer to watch out for.”
—Chris Abani, author of GraceLand, winner of the Hemingway/PEN Award
“John Crow’s Devil is the finest and most important first novel I’ve read in years. Marlon James’s writing brings to mind early Toni Morrison, Jessica Hagedorn, and Gabriel García Márquez.”
—Kaylie Jones, author of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries
“Marlon James is a writer to watch. John Crow’s Devil is the kind of stylistically mature first novel that often comes at the beginning of an enduring career.”
—Colin Channer, author of Waiting in Vain and Passing Through
This stunning debut novel tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in 1957. With language as taut as classic works by Cormac McCarthy, and a richness reminiscent of early Toni Morrison, Marlon James reveals his unique narrative command that will firmly establish his place as one of today’s freshest, most talented young writers.
In the village of Gibbeah—where certain women fly and certain men protect secrets with their lives—magic coexists with religion, and good and evil are never as they seem. In this town, a battle is fought between two men of God. The story begins when a drunkard named Hector Bligh (the “Rum Preacher”) is dragged from his pulpit by a man calling himself “Apostle” York. Handsome and brash, York demands a fire-and-brimstone church, but sets in motion a phenomenal and deadly struggle for the soul of Gibbeah itself. John Crow’s Devil is a novel about religious mania, redemption, sexual obsession, and the eternal struggle inside all of us between the righteous and the wicked.
MARLON JAMES was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. John Crow’s Devil is his debut novel. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, was released in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. Currently a professor of literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, he divides his time between Jamaica, New York City, and the Twin Cities.