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The Gospel According to Cane by [Courttia Newland]
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The Gospel According to Cane Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1322 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1617751332
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (February 5, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B0YT08I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,493,028 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beverley Cottrell is a middle aged woman who has suffered a major trauma. When her baby boy was eight months old, he was taken from outside a shop while Bev's husband Patrick was busy inside. Bev was absent, away at a meeting. The guilt of that loss and her estrangement from Patrick have dominated her life ever since.

Bev comes from a wealthy family with origins in Barbados. Her parents are now dead but her sister Jackie and brother-in-law Frank keep in touch. The relationship between Bev and Jackie is not always smooth and in recurring dreams set during the colonial era in Barbados, Bev sees a different sister even though her parents are the same as in real life.

Bev is preoccupied by pain - her own and that of others - and believes that psychological pain is as severe or even worse than physical pain. She cannot imagine any pain that surpasses that of losing her child and her waking days and dream-filled nights often revolve around thoughts of pain and the hold it has over her. It is a web from which it seems she cannot escape.

After the abduction of her baby, Bev gave up her promising teaching career and Patrick finally divorced her. He has a new family in the United States and Bev tries to build bridges to them, though her past actions make this impossible. She works at an after school centre teaching disadvantaged teenagers, but you sense that this might be a way of assuaging her guilt about her own privilege and loss of family more than her love of teaching. She is also obsessive about making lists and writing notes to herself, a technique for improving her self-esteem taught to her by her therapist, Sue. Though no longer in need of therapy, Bev continues to see Sue and counts her as a friend.
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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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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
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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