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Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

She took me to her mistress, who lived in a hut by the river. My husband beat me so hard that my child fell out, the mistress said. I have five gold rings, ten and two pairs of earrings, twenty and two bracelets, and ten and nine anklets, which I will give you, as well as a night in my bed. I took four anklets, and I took her back to her husband because I wanted his money more than her jewelry. Then I told her to have the woman from the third hut make him [poisoned] masuku beer.

Some books, you try to read but they don't work for you. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is one of those books for me, and the tragedy is that even I, who cannot read it now, sees how easily it could be considered a compelling, addictive read. There's a constant staccato of violence which plays away in one's mind as one makes one's way through it, brutish, blunt, short, and often internally disjointed. In some states of mind, the prose might seem understated and impactful though, in mine, it merely seems sparse and brittle. Violence in the imagination a substitute for a testimony of violence in reality.