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The Gospel According to Caneby Courttia Newland
Synopses & Reviews
Publishers Weekly has named The Gospel According to Cane a 2012-13 Notable African-American Title."
"The emotional tension is sometimes almost unbearable as a mother and son attempt to build a relationship out of their shared pain. A unique and very moving novel."
"A mother's love is unbreakable, as Frank O'Connor Award-nominee Newland demonstrates in his latest novel... The storytelling is as captivating as the story itself. Newland, a Jamaican-born British writer, seamlessly integrates the joy, fear, uncertainty, and sadness... Newland's prose is beautiful. His novel--part homecoming narrative in the vein of Toni Morrison's Beloved and part haunting tale of loss similar to Ernest Gaines's In My Father's House--will appeal to all lovers of literary fiction."
"The characters are finely drawn with realistic ambiguity and genuinely exhibit the durability of grief and pain."
"Newland delivers an intense portrait of mental conflict against a gritty inner-city background. The book we are reading is Beverley Cottrell's journal...This 'journal of my pain,' becomes a spiral of cathartic violence during which Newland deftly keeps the reader guessing."
"One of Britain's most important young black novelists...a truly gifted storyteller."
--Time Out London
Courttia Newland blazes a literary path difficult to challenge, with a style so crisp, searing, and profoundly philosophical. His Gospel According to Cane is grippingly disturbing, pulled from the depth of human despair and sheer madness, possibly best understood in the realm of psychiatry.”
--The Gleaner (Jamaica)
"As Bev confesses in her journals to events that make her appear less than the fragile idealist she first appeared, Newlands tale gathers pace and tension. Violence becomes a real possibility. Happy ending or sad? Newland delivers a bit of both in this complex, cathartic portrait of an intelligent, if not always sensible woman, who refuses any longer to be defined by loss."
"The abduction of a child would devastate any family. But what if that child returned, many years later, a young man and a stranger? Could that be even worse? The Gospel According to Cane is a gripping novel that's rich with both grief and great love. Courttia Newland is a fierce talent."
--Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine
Beverley Cottrell had a dream life: a prestigious job, a beautiful husband and baby boy. This is stolen from her one winter afternoon when her son Malakay is kidnapped from a parked car. Despite a media campaign, a full police investigation, and the offer of a reward, Malakay is never found. Beverleys marriage soon dissolves and her husband immigrates from England to the U.S. with a new wife.
Beverley gives up her job, sells the house, and moves from the leafy suburbs to the inner city to reside in a west London housing project. She cocoons herself in grief, growing more isolated with each passing year. After two decades she gives up any hope of finding her son. She teaches children who have been expelled from school in the local community center, bright kids thrown on societys scrap heap.
Beverley starts to believe she has finally pieced her life together—until a young man starts appearing wherever she goes. Beverley is convinced that hes stalking her. One dark evening the stalker gets past her security door and calls through her letterbox. He tells her not to be scared. He says that he is Malakay, her son.
The Gospel According to Cane is a novel about inner-city youth in contemporary London. Its a meditation on pain and loss, the burden of heritage, and how the past can blur the present. Its about trust and the perceived lack of trust, disillusion, and its consequences. A world where everyone is the victim, and no one is to blame.
"British author Newland (The Scholar) exposes the permanent nature of grief in his blurry new novel, the first to be published in America. Twenty years ago, Beverly Cottrell was a teacher in a private school living with her loving husband and infant son in a new house. During a brief stop on a trip, her son was kidnapped. Months of police investigation and media coverage turned up no clues. Eroded by grief, Beverly shut out her former life and ended up single and jobless. Now she leads a quiet life teaching creative writing to at-risk teens at a youth center in West London, playing board games with her neighbor, Ida, and writing in her journal. One day, a strange young man follows her home from the market, claiming to be her son, causing her precarious existence to fall apart. The wounds at Beverly's core are rent open, made worse by her family and friends' disapproval and skepticism over the boy's identity. Although Newland's novel gets bogged down in much weighty backstory, his characters are finely drawn with realistic ambiguity and genuinely exhibit the durability of grief and pain." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
After her infant son is kidnapped, Beverley Cottrell's marriage fails. Could a mysterious, lurking boy be her son?
"The abduction of a child would devastate any family. But what if that child returned, many years later, a young man and a stranger? Could that be even worse? The Gospel According to Cane is a gripping novel that's rich with both grief and great love. Courttia Newland is a fierce talent."--Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine
"One of Britain's most important young black novelists...a truly gifted storyteller."--Time Out London
"One of the most imaginative, free-thinking writers working today. I love his work."
--Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michelangelo
Beverley Cottrell's dream life—a prestigious job, a beautiful husband—is stolen from her when her son Malakay is kidnapped. Despite a media campaign, a full police investigation, and the offer of a reward, Malakay is never seen again—until one day a mysterious young man claiming to be her son appears wherever she goes. The Gospel According to Cane is a meditation on pain and loss, the burden of heritage, and how the past can blur the present.
Courttia Newland's first novel The Scholar was published in 1997. He has been nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, the Alfred Fagon Award, and the Frank O'Connor Award.
About the Author
Courttia Newlands first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within (1999), Snakeskin (2002), The Dying Wish (2006), Music for the Off-Key (2006), and A Book of Blues (2011). He is coeditor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) and has short stories featured in many anthologies. He was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, the Alfred Fagon Award, and the Frank OConnor Award. His latest anthology, coedited with Monique Roffey, is Tell Tales 4: The Global Village.
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