Paperback review: The Gospel According to Cane, By Courttia Newland


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The Independent Culture

Beverley is a West Indian woman living in West London. Single, in her forties, she is an ex-teacher who, thanks to her wealthy parents, no longer needs to work, but runs free creative writing classes for troubled teens at a community centre.

She regularly sees her policeman lover, and her therapist, who is helping her get over the trauma of having her baby boy stolen from her 20 years ago. Then, one day, a young black man starts stalking her. He's about 20. Late one night he gets into her apartment block and calls through the letterbox. He says he's her son. Her therapist, her sister, her lover, the kids she teaches all counsel her against accepting this stranger into her life ... This is an emotional novel; warm, prickly, tense, full of love, resentment and fear. The ending is, in my view, rather implausible. But you certainly don't want to stop reading.