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A river called time - Courttia Newland

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A river called time
Courttia Newland
UK Publication Date

A monumental speculative fiction story of love, loyalty, politics and conscience set in parallel Londons

The Ark was built to save the lives of the many, but rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning.

Years after the Ark was cut off from the world, a chance of survival within its confines is granted to a select few who can prove their worth. Among their number is Markriss Denny, whose path to future excellence is marred only by a closely guarded secret: without warning, his spirit leaves his body, allowing him to see and experience a world far beyond his physical limitations.

Once inside the Ark, Denny learns of another with the same power, whose existence could spell catastrophe for humanity. He is forced into a desperate race to understand his abilities, and in doing so uncovers the truth about the Ark, himself and the people he thought he once knew.

Set in an alternate world where slavery and colonialism never happened, Newland's staggering novel is both a timely exploration of social inequality and a story about love, loyalty and the search for the truth.

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Courttia Newland is the author of The Scholar, Snakeskin and The Gospel According to Cane. He co-edited The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, and his short stories have featured in various anthologies. Newland tours extensively for the British Council, and has been writer-in-residence for Trinity College, Dublin and Georgetown University, Washington DC. He has taught creative writing workshops and performed readings globally. He was shortlisted for the 2007 CWA Dagger in the Library Award, the 2010 Alfred Fagon Award and longlisted for the 2011 Frank O'Conner Award.


If you want to know the story of Britain, it's really important to read Newland. There's a reason why the Oscar-winning McQueen is working with him
Observer - LEMN SISSAY

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

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

Courttia Newland is a formidable writer . . . extraordinary . . . Newland offers a brilliant remix of history . . . This may be a work of speculative fiction but its critical lens is present and prescient
Financial Times

Courttia'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

Gloriously enthralling. An immersive, ambitious reimagining of the city from a formidable British voice. Newland's magnum opus

There is something televisual in the way Newland pitches his new novel: lots of visual description, busy with incident and plotty twists and turns . . . readable and absorbing . . . no one can doubt the sheer energy and verve of Newland's vision

Mightily impressive . . . An extraordinary . . . exploration of history, identity and time
Daily Mail

A vast and wildly ambitious piece of speculative fiction that asks what the world would look like if slavery and colonialism never existed

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 towards the reality we could create. Written in Courttia's evocative style, I was constantly thrown by the clever twists and turns. I had my hands on my face throughout the end of the book as shock after shock was delivered . . . an excellent, beautiful read that will make you think while taking your breath away

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