Quotes from A Brief History of Seven Killings

Marlon James ·  688 pages

Rating: (19.5K votes)


“And killing don’t need no reason. This is ghetto. Reason is for rich people. We have madness.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“If it no go so, it go near so. —Jamaican proverb”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“The dream didn’t leave, people just don’t know a nightmare when they right in the middle of one.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“But in another city, another valley, another ghetto, another slum, another favela, another township, another intifada, another war, another birth, somebody is singing Redemption Song, as if the Singer wrote it for no other reason but for this sufferah to sing, shout, whisper, weep, bawl, and scream right here, right now.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“But sometimes when you’re too careful it just turns into a different kind of carelessness.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



“—The problem with a book is that you never know what it’s planning to do to you until you’re too far into it.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“That’s what happens when you personify hopes and dreams in one person. He becomes nothing more than a literary device.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“One of the things I fucking hate about my fellow Americans: whenever they fly to a foreign country, first thing they do, they try to find as much of America as they can get their hands on, even if it's food in the shitty cafeteria.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“because people so poor that they can’t even afford shame and I wait.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“You know, most of this feminism business was nothing more than white American women telling non-white women what to do and how to do it, with this patronizing if-you-become-just-like-me-you’ll-be-free bullshit,”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



“My mother sings One day at a time sweet Jesus, and even Daddy likes to say that, one day at a time, as if it’s some strategy for living. And yet the quickest way to not live at all is to take life one day at a time. It’s the way I’ve discovered to not do a damn thing. If you can break a day down into quarters, then hours, then half hours, then minutes, you can chew down any stretch of time to bite size. It’s like dealing with losing a man. If you can bear it for one minute, then you can swallow two, then five, then another five and on and on. If I don’t want to think about my life, I don’t have to think about life at all, just hold for one minute, then two, then five, then another five, before you know it, a month can pass and you don’t even notice because you’ve only been counting minutes.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Living people wait and see because they fool themselves that they have time. Dead people see and wait.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Woman breed baby, but man can only make Frankenstein.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“People who say they don’t have a choice just too coward to choose.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Nobody in the game uses their feet, but it’s football. I love how Americans can just claim something to be whatever they feel it is, despite clear evidence it’s not. Like a football game with nobody using any feet that takes forever.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



“Jamaica never gets worse or better, it just finds new ways to stay the same.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“I hate people like that, people you have to protect while they keep hurting you.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“There’s a reason why the story of the ghetto should never come with a photo. The Third World slum is a nightmare that defies beliefs or facts, even the ones staring right at you. A vision of hell that twists and turns on itself and grooves to its own soundtrack. Normal rules do not apply here. Imagination then, dream, fantasy. You visit a ghetto, particularly a ghetto in West Kingston, and it immediately leaves the real to become this sort of grotesque, something out of Dante or the infernal painting of Hieronymus Bosch. It’s a rusty red chamber of hell that cannot be described so I will not try to describe it. It cannot be photographed because some parts of West Kingston, such as Rema, are in the grip of such bleak and unremitting repulsiveness that the inherent beauty of the photographic process will lie to you about just how ugly it really is.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Nobody ever own a gun. You don’t know that until you own one.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“You ever feel like home is the one place you can’t go back to? It’s like you promise yourself when you got out of bed and combed your hair that this evening, when I get back I’ll be a different woman in a new place. And now you can’t go back because the house expects something from you.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



“When building monsters don't be surprised when they become monstrous.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“He’s from a generation that never even expected to get midway up the ladder so when he got there he was too stunned to dare climb higher. That’s the problem with midway. Up is everything and down just means all the white people want to party on your street on Sunday night to feel realness. Midway is nowhere.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“—Do you know what we mean by Cold War?
—War don’t have no temperature.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Is true, you do feel better about things the further you run from it”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“every time you reach the edge, the edge move ahead of you like a shadow until the whole world is a ghetto, and you wait.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



“People stupid. The dream didn't leave, people just don't know a nightmare when they right in the middle of one.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“I tell myself that I tolerate Kimmy because she could never survive me even once talking to her the way she talks to me. I hate people like that, people you have to protect while they keep hurting you.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“I might be a snob, but at least I’m not a hypocrite, still coasting around because I have nothing to do now that my life’s dream to fuck and breed for Che Guevara blew up in my face. Nor am I hanging out with rich people in West Kings House who now don’t wash their hair and calling themselves I-man to upset their parents, when everybody knows in two years they’re going right back to their father’s shipping company to take it over, and marry whichever Syrian bitch just win Miss Jamaica.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“Papa-Lo start thinking too deep and start thinking that he should be more than what he is. He’s the worst kind of fool, the fool who start believing things can get better.”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings


“I see seven people in one room and one pregnant and people fucking anyway because people so poor that they can’t even afford shame and I wait”
― Marlon James, quote from A Brief History of Seven Killings



About the author

Marlon James
Born place: in Kingston, Jamaica
Born date November 24, 1970
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