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The Gospel According to Cane Paperback – February 5, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617751332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617751332
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,989,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s been 20 years, but Beverley Cottrell is slowly rebuilding her life. She had a great career, a loving husband, and a baby boy. Then the unimaginable happened. While her husband was picking up take-away Chinese, her infant son, Malakay, was snatched from the car, never to be found. Her marriage dissolved, and Beverley moved to London’s inner city to hide from the world. She eventually found some solace in teaching literature to impoverished neighborhood kids in an after-school program, but the best she could do was keep her pain at arm’s length. Now she notices an unfamiliar young man hanging around the area, then stalking her. Soon he slips past her building security and announces through the door that he is, in fact, her son. Author Newland is never concerned with the mystery of the kidnapping or the intervening years, but instead focuses on people facing tragedy, coping, and maybe struggling back into the light. 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. --Wes Lukowsky


"A thrilling read, full of psychological tension and drama, the emotive account of one woman’s response to tragedy. Newland depicts his young characters humanely, compassionately. A stylish, confident novel."
--Yvvette Edwards, author of A Cupboard Full of Coats

"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

"The Gospel According to Cane is a gripping tale of loss, despair, and hope of redemption. Courttia Newland continues to consolidate his reputation as a writer of depth and range."
--Linton Kwesi Johnson, author of Mi Revalueshanary Fren

"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 Electrcic Michelangelo

"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)

"Courttia Newland published his first novel in 1997, at the age of 23. His early fiction featured the kind of marginalised urban youngsters now fashionably ventriloquised in novels such as Pigeon English. But while his themes have long since expanded, he also remains true to his roots. His latest novel may have a middle-class, middle-aged African-Caribbean woman at its centre, but those same disaffected teenagers hover at its periphery...The Gospel According to a coming-of-middle-age novel, but one seasoned with style and sophistication."
--The Guardian

"This is an emotional novel; warm, prickly, tense, full of love, resentment and fear."
--The Independent (UK) (Brandon Robshaw)

"A nuanced palette of human emotion has been sensitively explored by Courttia Newland in his seven books. At the heart of his unflinching new novel is a profound examination of the causes and effects of pain."
--The Independent (UK) (Anita Sethi)

More About the Author

Courttia Newland's first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within (1999) and Snakeskin (2002), The Dying Wish (2006), Music for the Off-Key (2006), and A Book of Blues (2011). He is co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) and has short stories featured in many anthologies. His career has encompassed both screen and playwriting; plays include B is for Black, and an adaptation of Euripedes Women of Troy. He was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, the Alfred Fagon Award, the Frank O' Conner Award and The Edge Hill Prize 2012. His latest anthology, co-edited with Monique Roffey, is Tell Tales 4: The Global Village (2009). A forthcoming novel, The Gospel According to Cane, will be published by Akashic Books (US) and Telegram (UK) in February 2013.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By OOSA Online Book Club on April 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Beverley Cottrell's son, Malakay, was kidnapped. Any parent's worst nightmare. The stress and strain resulted in the dissolution of her marriage. Some twenty years later she meets a young man claiming to be her long lost son.

Courttia Newland's "The Gospel According to Cane" is a fascinating read. The plot development and writing are strong. The journey into despair wreaks havoc upon lives without anticipated consequences and thus remains within the realm of possibility. I only have two complaints. I felt the actions of the main character were, at times, unbelievable in the face of trading one's safety to find a loss. I also felt the ending was weak with an unrealistic ending.

That said, "The Gospel According to Cane" is a worthy read and one I'd easily recommend.

Reviewed by: Gail
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader's Paradise VINE VOICE on March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Do you know pain? Have you seen or felt it first hand or through the heart and eyes of another? What is your level of pain?
Beverley Cottrell`s says that "there is some pain that has the capacity to hurt anyone." I like that because it speaks to tolerance and whether you can anesthetize pain or not. It really speaks to the power of pain. This novel is written like Beverley Cotrells journal, she writes of her life today and yesterday, while also describing this pain in poetic style.

She first noticed him at Portobello Market, he follows her to her flat and after some conversation he tells her he's Malakay. She allows him to move in and those closest to her warn her of his potential motives. They worry, how could she know? the last time she saw him he was eight months old. After twenty years can it be him or has hope clouded her judgment?

Newland really delves into this expertly written story of family and motherhood that the reader can absolutely identify with.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author for the purpose of this review.

Readers Paradise
4 book marks
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By Vandella on July 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Gospel of According to Cane is a novel of a mother. Her name is Beverly, who discovers her son is alive after believing he was dead for twenty years. But is this boy, Wills, really her son? Courttia Newland, a British author, places his story in London and the scenes unfold as points of departure as told by the victim, Beverly. She is a bereaved mother, divorcee, a teacher, and is under the care of a therapist, and a caring neighbor, Ida. The author has carefully crafted an amazing space of thought, situations, and the psyche. Sometimes funny and sometimes brutal, the story ends with questions of what will happen tomorrow. Readers might find this novel written in an unaccommodating style, deliberating, and hard to keep in focus. This book has been nominated for 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Black British author Courttia Newland brings a gripping story of an abducted child who returns home as a young adult full of anger, grief, and love. Set in contemporary London, the novel tells the desperate story of Beverley whose son was kidnapped from a locked, parked car while dad bought dinner. After 20 years of trying to piece her life back together, her son, Malakay, reappears as a temporary stalker opening the mail slot of her front door at night and calling her name. Fascinating story of the complexities of personal atonement and redemption. BuytheBook.
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