‘Truth Eats Lies’: Marlon James Creates a New Realm of Fantasy Fiction

On the first page of Marlon James’s phantasmagorical epic adventure novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf , the narrator declares, “Truth eats lies just as the crocodile eats the moon, and yet my witness is the same today as it will be tomorrow.” That short passage packs together all of the potent power of the 48-year-old Jamaican author, all of his brash assurance and gorgeous mythical imagery. Perhaps no other contemporary fiction writer takes such risks and uses such provocative, sensual descriptions as James (who masterfully mixes in smells and sounds as well as sights to build a world).

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