First Review for US edition of The Gospel According to Cane
A mother’s love is unbreakable, as Frank O’Connor Award–nominee Newland (The Scholar) demonstrates in his latest novel. Heartbroken after the abduction of her infant son, Beverley Cottrell blames both her husband, who left their son Malakay in the car alone, and herself for not being able to protect and raise Malakay. She rebuffs her family and finds solace in teaching at-risk teenagers in her neighborhood. When a young man claiming to be her son returns after 20 years, her life becomes unexpectedly more strained than before. The storytelling is as captivating as the story itself. Newland, a Jamaican-born British writer, seamlessly integrates the joy, fear, uncertainty, and sadness of Beverley and Malakey’s reunion while nimbly addressing the feelings of jealousy and protectiveness that grip those closest to Beverley after her presumed son’s return. VERDICT 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.
—Ashanti White, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro