You could be forgiven for wanting to stop reading Marlon James’ “John Crow’s Devil” fairly early on into the book. If so, it will be the Jamaican patois that will most likely get you. But my advice is to persevere. Try and get a ‘voice’ in your head against which you can process the language – and soon enough your brain will compensate automatically!
Because if you give up, you’ll miss out on something powerful.
“John Crow’s Devil” is a dark, violent, fantastical, spiritual tale. The way it is written blurs the lines between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and inexorably draws you in; at times it’s a little like watching a film from behind the sofa! And even though James starts his book with ‘The End’, you can’t help but imagine / desire a different outcome as you get deeper into it. If James had somehow been able to make that first chapter ‘anonymous’, without explicitly naming the characters involved, the build up to it through the rest of the book would have been even more intense…
The book is a ‘tour de force’, probably in all senses of the phrase.