Advertisement
Books

A River Called Time by Courttia Newland: A dramatic and satisfying finale

As the story reaches its climax, the reader is returned to the original dystopian setting, with Newland delivering a finale that is both dramatic and deeply satisfying

Courttia Newland’s A River Called Time is a piece of speculative fiction that draws on elements of African futurism to create a near-future that is shifted from the real world in a number of ways, both minor and profound.

Lockdowns have taken income away from hundreds of Big Issue sellers. Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

In a dystopian version of London, Markriss has grown up in the poor Outer City, but his skills earn him entry to The Ark, the privileged and heavily guarded Inner City.

There he gets a job as a journalist and quickly realises things aren’t as they seem in an oppressive and violent society.

While all this might sound like standard dystopia, Newland subtly and smoothly incorporates elements of Egyptian mythology into his alternative landscape, building an altered history that is entirely believable.

In this world, colonialism and slavery never happened, instead the magical abilities of ancient Africans have grown to become a world religion.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Tying into this, Markriss’s ability to use astral projection sends him on a dream quest through different realities in an attempt to understand both his own powers and the truth about the unjust society he lives in.

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.

As the story reaches its climax, the reader is returned to the original dystopian setting, with Newland delivering a finale that is both dramatic and deeply satisfying.

A River Called Time by Courttia Newland is out now (Canongate, £16.99)

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
River Clyde by Simone Buchholz review: A daring, original crime story
Book review

River Clyde by Simone Buchholz review: A daring, original crime story

The scientific reason hate is on the rise
Books

The scientific reason hate is on the rise

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield review: A mystical thriller with serious depth
Book reviews

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield review: A mystical thriller with serious depth

Fight Night by Miriam Toews review: The funniest, smartest novel you’ll read this year
Book review

Fight Night by Miriam Toews review: The funniest, smartest novel you’ll read this year

Most Popular

Read All
The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who
1.

The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on
2.

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals
3.

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week
4.

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.