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Marlon James Turns to Fantasy
Marlon James is one of those novelists who aren’t afraid to give a performance, to change the states of language from viscous to gushing to grand, to get all the way inside the people he’s created. His previous novel, “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” from 2014, used an assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976 to turn Jamaica into someplace far more galactic than a mere island. Now James is back with “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” out Feb. 5, which looks like another great, big tale of death, murder and mystery but more mystically fantastical. This one is set in Africa and concerns the hunt for a missing boy. But that’s my budget description! Not only does this book come with a hefty cast of characters (like “Seven Killings”), there are also shape shifters, fairies, trolls, and, apparently, a map. The map might be handy. But it might be the opposite of why you come to James — to get lost in him. WESLEY MORRIS