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The Book of Night Women | [Marlon James]

The Book of Night Women

The story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the 18th century. 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 plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans.
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Publisher's Summary

The Book of Night Women is a sweeping, startling novel, a true tour de force of both voice and storytelling. It is the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the 18th century. 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 plotting a slave revolt, and as Lilith comes of age and reveals the extent of her power, they see her as the key to their plans.

But when she begins to understand her own feelings and desires and identity, Lilith starts to push at the edges of what is imaginable for the life of a slave woman in Jamaica, and risks becoming the conspiracy's weak link. 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 grace the page recently - and the secret of that voice is one of the book's most intriguing mysteries.

©2009 Marlon James; (P)2009 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (454 )
5 star
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4.5 (228 )
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  •  
    04-20-10
    04-20-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "read now to understand the past"

    I have never come across a work of fiction that so powerfully portrayed the moral complexities of European slavery as James's novel. In this book, slave owners and slaves alike are complex characters: the family whose slaves are the "best dressed in all Jamaica" also cruelly kills its slaves on the slightest whim; house slaves and field slaves distrust and despise each other; and an Irish overseer is the only person who treats the book's main character, the mulatta Lilith, as a human being. What conclusions can we draw from this book? Slavery was an institution that corrupted the lives of all that it touched, White or Black, free or slave. And for those who doubt that its ramifications continue into the present day, read this book!

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 05-19-09
    Lyn LADY LAKE, FL, United States 05-19-09 Member Since 2007

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "10 stars if available"

    This book is perfect for audible. It is read (and I presume written) in a Jamacian/Creole patois which would be hard to read but a joy to listen! The narrator is gifted as she uses the patois, British, Irish and even Cockney accents to draw the many faceted characters. The story itself opens a view of an history and mind set none of us could begin to realize. Don't miss this listening opportunity.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise 09-21-10
    Denise 09-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "twenty stars"

    Ten stars for the author and ten for the reader. Robin Miles is wonderful. Male voices, female voices, accents, flavors, tones. When there are six people in the room I hear six different people, and remind myself with amazement that it's all Ms. Miles. Wonderful book!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fracaswell Hyman West Hollywood, CA USA 03-27-09
    Fracaswell Hyman West Hollywood, CA USA 03-27-09 Member Since 2002
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    "A Sweeping Epic"

    Marlon James has created a sweeping epic that draws you into the life of slaves & masters in the Jamaica of the late 1700's. Edge of your seat suspenseful, at times almost too horrific to bear, but your love of the characters along with their humanity and insanity won't let you turn away.
    The narrator, Robin Miles, is a revelation! So many characters, male & female, Jamaican, Irish and British, all from one mouth. Many times I had to stop and make sure there wasn't a cast of actors voicing the roles.
    This book is a truly magnificent achievement. Treat yourself.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ann Chesterfield, NJ, United States 01-07-11
    ann Chesterfield, NJ, United States 01-07-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""A lyrical, heart thumping, engaging masterpiece""

    Please do not sleep on this audio book. The narrator sings her way through the chapters in true Jamaican dialect while ensuring that each and every character has their own voice. I literally could not stop listening until the entire read was complete. After it was finished, I found myself researching carribean slavery, and found the content to be mostly true. I could see the characters in my mind and smell them, and hear their songs. I cannot express how touching this book was to me and dare I say, I dont know if I would have felt the same if I would have simply read the book. The narrator gave the stories life and I was wanting more and more even after the final word was read. This is my first written review of a book ever which should tell you how deeply I feel that this is one that should not be ignored.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noreen Brooklyn, NY, USA 03-06-10
    Noreen Brooklyn, NY, USA 03-06-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Book of Night Women (Unabridged)""

    I loved this book. I especially loved the Narration.I loved the rawness that the writer brought to life. He used great language that was so real, I felt as though I was sitting watching this world unfold. Marlon Davis, dipiction of The Book of Night Women (Unabridged) made me thank God I was born in this time. I was capitivated by his use of dialect. I felt as though I was there with the women in all of their suffering. I thought and think that this book is excellent and that the writer is amazing. Certainly not a watered down version of how slavery was.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan boston, MA, USA 11-11-09
    Susan boston, MA, USA 11-11-09
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    "Worth the Time"

    A fascinating look at slavery in Jamaica told from a slave's point of view. While we study a great deal of history of slavery in the U.S we are greatly unaware of what happened in other parts of the world. Well read, gripping story

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ann coleman LEWISVILLE, TX, US 03-27-12
    ann coleman LEWISVILLE, TX, US 03-27-12 Member Since 2010
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    "WOW!!!!!"

    This book was awesome!!!!! I could not stop listening, it held my interest from beginning to end!!! It was so very well written. Im so glad I didnt miss out on this one, I took a chance and Im sooooo glad I did!!! The narrator was one of the best!!!!!!!!!!!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill New Paltz, NY, USA 04-25-09
    Bill New Paltz, NY, USA 04-25-09
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    "the book of night women"

    Simply a beautiful novel. I have never encountered such an brutally honest story before that takes you so completely into the lives of these women. If you are faint hearted or prefer not to look the truth in the face, skip this book, but if you want a listening experience that you will never ever forget, this is the one.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica Round Lake, IL, USA 06-03-09
    Erica Round Lake, IL, USA 06-03-09
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    "Can't put it down"

    This is a great book that pulls you into slave life in Jamaica. Although it is a little graphic, the characters are well developed, the story live intriguing and Robin Miles has a gift for using the various accents so well it is easy to understand. I highly recommend this one!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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