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“People would say that if the Rum Preacher was all that stood between Heaven and Hell, then everybody had better stock up on asbestos.”


Private Pole. Lindisfarne, February 2021.

John Crow's Devil by Marlon James

This is an exceptionally dark and disturbing book. Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted, this reads like a magical realist Jamaican take on Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Heavily religious in tone and written in thick patois, this is no easy read.

Nonetheless, it will reward the patient reader. Exceptionally violent at points and brutally frank when it comes to the body. Indeed, I suspect this book has the highest ratio of bodily fluids spilt per page (not to mention the abundant and vivid examinations of various characters' genitalia).

It isn't fair to say that I loved this book. It was difficult going at times, but given it is a raw excoriation of post-colonial withdrawal and the hypocrisies of organised religion (and prophets of a more disorganised sort), it would not be right if it were easy.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2

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