Moving account of slavery in 18th century Jamacia. Following the life of Negro women slaves, Marlon James captures the pain endured, mentally and physically.
Cover of The Book of Night Women
Lilith, the main character in the book, takes us through a haunting, soul breaking journey of her life on a Jamaican sugar plantation during the 18Th century. Marlon James the author has written the book in the narrative form of a rhythmic Jamaican patois a stilted language of the slaves. The way the author has used this, adds to the interest of the book. The reader hears the voice of Lilith, the main character of the story, an understanding of her dialect captures the imagination.
As the storyline unfolds, so does the pain and the fear of the slaves. The power of the masters, their cruelty and weakness of character are portrayed throughout page after page. Oppression of the cruelest kind is there for the reader to witness, James writes with no apologies. Rape, love and punishment are described with feeling, the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of life on the Montpelier estate.
Image via Wikipedia
Negro women, use their bodies and have their bodies abused. They are tortured but remain strong, the bitterness grows within them and adds to their strength and cunning minds. Their African past is kept alive and houses so much hatred it spreads from plantation to plantation, slave to slave. No white master is truly safe as this powerhouse of destruction builds into an organised revolution.
Tragedy, joy and fear is rolled into the blood and destruction that follows Lilith and friends. Friends who are not loyal, those who have ulterior motives and those who find they cannot support her forever. A woman alone, yet surrounded by many. She holds the secrets of many; she is the secret of a few. The subservient women start an uprising with amazing and tragic consequence.
Image by *clairity* via Flickr
There are graphic moments and words in the book, however, if they were taken away, along with the sing-song language, the book would lose its personality. It is unique, powerful, a reminder of what slaves went through and will stay with you for a long time.