Advertisement - Content continues below
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 - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below

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 - Content continues below

Support your local vendor

Give your vendor a hand up and buy the magazine. Big Issue vendors are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. But, at the same time, they are micro-entrepreneurs. By supporting their business, you can help them overcome homelessness, financial instability and other social disadvantages that hold them back.

Recommended for you

Read All
Book reviews: Something New Under The Sun and The Black Locomotive
Books

Book reviews: Something New Under The Sun and The Black Locomotive

Top 5 books on railways, featuring Terry Pratchett and a handbook from 1866
Books

Top 5 books on railways, featuring Terry Pratchett and a handbook from 1866

From 13th-century monks to Google, we're all index-linked
Books

From 13th-century monks to Google, we're all index-linked

Author Charles Foster: 'Unless we rediscover our stories we’re finished'
Books

Author Charles Foster: 'Unless we rediscover our stories we’re finished'

Most Popular

Read All
Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit
1.

Only 30 MPs turn up to debate cutting universal credit

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle
2.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick sacked in cabinet reshuffle

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament
3.

More than 70 MPs back motion to stop ministers lying in parliament

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 increase matter?