"Class, race, different iterations of self, the power of the imagination, Afrofuturism, politics, spirituality, physics and philosophyit's all here in a high-concept novel blending sci-fi and speculative fiction with the self-critique of memoir."
The Herald (UK)
"Newland subtly and smoothly incorporates elements of Egyptian mythology into his alternative landscape, building an altered history that is entirely believable...This kind of thing is not easy to portray well in fiction, but Courttia Newland does so with a confident hand, leading the reader through different worlds with aplomb."
The Big Issue (UK)
"A deftly crafted dystopian science fiction novel by an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that reaches out and grabs the reader’s totally engaged and compulsive page turning attention from cover to cover."
Midwest Book Review
"The seventh novel from Newland, who also co-wrote Steve McQueen’s recent Small Axe film series, is set in an alternative London where the privileged live in a giant Ark, and in a timeline in which slavery and colonialism never happened."
"A brilliantly realized story."
i (UK), a Best Book of 2021
"Rooted in a decolonized narrative style where every turn of phrase brings forth the weight of its cultural implications, A River Called Time is a deeply thoughtful, surprising and rewarding read."
The Arts Desk (UK)
"Mightily impressive...an extraordinary...exploration of history, identity and time."
Daily Mail (UK)
"This is a splendid and complex book with many layers and is written superbly well...I have never read a book quite like this before."
NB Magazine (UK)
"The award-winning playwright and screenwriter for Steve McQueen's Small Axe has penned one of the most hotly anticipated reads of 2021and for good reason. Newland has painted a richly imagined parallel London where colonialism and slavery never existed while exploring timely themes of social inequality, the resulting eruption of violence and media repression."
"A River Called Time is a masterful reimagining of the African diaspora's influence on England, and on the world. It's a grand tale and still an intimate portrait of loss and love. What glory and influence would Africa enjoy if colonialism had never occurred? Courttia Newland reshapes our vision of the past, present and future by taking this one question seriously. The result is something truly special. No other way to put it, this book is true Black magic."
Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
"Courttia Newland's writing is rich with passion and humanity. He manages to convey great depth without ever losing his lightness of touch. A rare feat only reserved for the few."
Steve McQueen, Academy Award–winning film director
"A River Called Time is a real gem of a book. There are so many brilliant parallels drawn between the world we live in as well as gentle prods toward the reality we could create. I had my hands on my face throughout the end of the book as shock after shock was delivered. A River Called Time is an excellent, beautiful read that will make you think while taking your breath away."
Dorothy Koomson, author of Tell Me Your Secret
"Gloriously enthralling. An immersive, ambitious reimagining of the city from a formidable British voice. Newland's magnum opus."
Irenosen Okojie, author of Butterfly Fish
"A master storyteller returns with this piece of astonishing speculative fiction, interrogating social inequality, the complexities of truth and the very essence of what it is to be human, all in Newland's precise and powerful prose."
Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant
"A River Called Time is an incredible read. Perfectly plotted and layered with complex ideas, a heartbreaking love triangle and an astonishing ending. It’s not just a book of speculative fiction, but a starting point to learning about a kemetic spiritual system masterfully woven into the narrative. If you’re a fan of Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard, you’ll love stepping into the world Courttia has created."
Irfan Master, author of Out of Heart
”If only all alternative presents were this keenly imagined, plausibly constructed and well written.”
Ben Aaronovitch, author of Rivers of London
"A speculative fiction that you will not want to put down."
Book of Cinz
Included in Publishers Weekly’s Adult 2021 Announcements (SciFi, Fantasy, Horror)
A Most-Anticipated Caribbean Book of 2021 (Rebel Women Lit)
Critical praise for The Gospel According to Cane by Courttia Newland:
Nominated for the 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Fiction! "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 novelpart 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 Housewill appeal to all lovers of literary fiction."
"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."
"The characters are finely drawn with realistic ambiguity and genuinely exhibit the durability of grief and pain."
Publishers Weekly, selected as a 2012–2013 "Notable African American Title"
"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."
"As Bev confesses in her journals to events that make her appear less than the fragile idealist she first appeared, Newland's 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."
"Throughout The Gospel According to Cane, Mr. Newland takes on...the meaning of family and the risks associated with helping those in distress...With realism and without sanctimony, Mr. Newland successfully engages some of the most difficult questions we will ever face."
New York Journal of Books
"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 Electric 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 Cane...is a coming-of-middle-age novel, but one seasoned with style and sophistication."
"This is an emotional novel; warm, prickly, tense, full of love, resentment and fear."