The Book of Night Women is a 2009 novel by Jamaican author Marlon James. The book was first published in hardback on February 19, 2009, by Riverhead Books. The story follows Lilith, a young woman born into slavery, who challenges the boundaries of what is expected of her.
|The Book of Night Women|
|Country||United States, United Kingdom/Australia|
|Subject||Eighteenth century, slavery|
|Published||2009, Riverhead Books, North America; Oneworld Publications, UK/Australia/NZ|
|Media type||Print, e-book, audiobook|
|ISBN||1594488576 (North America);
ISBN 9781780746524 (UK/Australia/NZ)
Lilith is a beautiful young woman born during the 18th century on a Jamaican sugar plantation. Orphaned from birth, she quickly learns that life as a slave can be frequently brutal and unkind. After she is forced to defend herself against a would-be rapist, she is sent to work in the plantation owner's house. There she tries to win the master's affections, despite warnings from a fellow slave that this will only end badly. Lilith experiences more troubles when the Night Women, a group of female slaves planning a revolt, ask her to join in their plans.
Critical reception for The Book of Night Women has been predominantly positive. The New York Times praised the novel highly and stated that while its themes can make it difficult to read at times, this works in the book's favor as it is both disturbing and eloquent. The Los Angeles Times, who also praised the novel, commented on the themes of brutality: "The novel can be unrelentingly violent, and the litany of terror, torture and revenge is long and horrifically detailed. But if that seems rather grim, it's nothing in comparison with how it must have been to the slaves."