Leaving Auburndale and A Brief History of Seven Killings

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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.