The New York Times

By the Book: Marlon James

THE AUTHOR, MOST RECENTLY, OF ‘BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF’ ADMIRES FANTASY FICTION THAT FEELS ‘WONDERFULLY STRANGE AND ALARMINGLY FAMILIAR AT THE SAME TIME. THAT AND A WOMAN OR MAN WHO CAN WIELD TWO SWORDS.’

Q: What books are on your nightstand?

A: Oyinkan Braithwaite’s “My Sister, the Serial Killer”; Yan Lianke’s “The Day the Sun Died”; Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast”; Anna Burns’s “Milkman”; Mike Mignola’s “B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs I”; and Dorothy B. Hughes’s “In a Lonely Place.”

Q: What’s the last great book you read?

A: Paul Murray’s “.” I’ve never read anything like it. Just don’t read the jacket copy: That did a pretty bang-up job of making me stay away from it for years — a shame because it’s one of the few true masterpieces of this young century. The very best stories can fool you into thinking that this is the first time you’re seeing a certain world, even as you’re being struck by the familiarity of it. I went to an all-boys high school not much different from Skippy’s. I had every one of Skippy’s friends: the boy with body odor,

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