on ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ by Marlon James

51r7deroPbL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Christopher Tayler at the London Review of Books:

Bob Marley had called a break during a band rehearsal at his house on the evening of 3 December 1976 when two cars pulled up and seven or more gunmen got out. One found his way to the kitchen, where Marley was eating a grapefruit, and opened fire. A bullet scraped his chest before hitting his upper arm, and four or five hit his manager, Don Taylor, who was standing between him and the doorway. The keyboard player’s girlfriend saw ‘a kid’ with his eyes squeezed shut emptying a pistol into the rehearsal area. The lead guitarist, an American session man on his first visit to Jamaica, took cover behind a flight case. The bass player and others – accounts vary as to how many – dived into a metal bathtub. Marley’s wife, Rita, was hit in the driveway while trying to get their children out and went down with a bullet fragment in her scalp. There were shouts: ‘Did you get him?’ ‘Yeah! I shot him!’ Then police arrived to investigate the gunfire and the attackers took off.

The manager had to be flown to Miami for surgery, but all the victims survived, and while each of the gunmen gets killed in A Brief History of Seven Killings, the novel restages the assault on Marley’s house with eight shooters, most of whom get given names: Josey Wales, Weeper, Bam-Bam, Demus, Heckle and Funky Chicken, plus ‘two man from Jungle, one fat, one skinny’. (‘Jungle’ is a nickname for one of the many social housing developments that sprang up in Kingston in the 1960s and 1970s.)

more here.