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Dec 16 2015

Leaving Auburndale and A Brief History of Seven Killings

Reviewed by Jason Jefferies, University Library Technician, NCSU Libraries

 

The best book I read this year by a regional author is also the first book I read this year, which is Leaving Auburndale by Hank Smith.  In Leaving Auburndale, Smith–a phenomenal banjo player from Raleigh, North Carolina–gives us a Gonzo take on the life of a touring bluegrass musician that reads like Raoul Duke on a whiskey bender at a swampy Floridian carnival.  Smith’s novel, his first, rewarded me with more laugh-out-loud moments than any book I read in 2015.

Reviewed by Jason Jefferies, University Library Technician, NCSU Libraries


Keeping with the musical theme, the best book I read this year by a non-regional author is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James.  This novel is centered around the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976, though it covers several years before and after.  A challenging but rewarding read, the scope of A Brief History of Seven Killings is best compared to that of The Sound and the Fury and The Wire.  For what it’s worth, James recently became the first Jamaican author to win the Man Booker Prize.