A miracle baby is rumoured to be the child of God. Award-winning Caribbean author Maryse Condé follows his journey in search of his origins and mission.

Baby Pascal is strikingly beautiful, brown in complexion, with grey-green eyes like the sea. But where does he come from? Is he really the child of God? So goes the rumour, and many signs throughout his life will cause this theory to gain ground.  

From journey to journey and from one community to another, Pascal sets off in search of his origins, trying to understand the meaning of his mission. Will he be able to change the fate of humanity? And what will the New World Gospel reveal? 

The Gospel According to the New World was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, announced on April 18, 2023.

The International Booker Prize 2023
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World Editions
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Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé

About the Author

Born in Guadeloupe in 1934 as the youngest of eight siblings, Maryse Condé was considered the Grande Dame of Caribbean literature.
More about Maryse Condé
Richard Philcox

Richard Philcox

About the Translator

Richard Philcox is Maryse Condé’s husband and translator. He has also published new translations of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks.
More about Richard Philcox

Maryse Condé on The Gospel According to the New World

‘My mother was a devoted believer and my father a confessed atheist and an ardent critic of my mother’s religious beliefs. I wanted to translate this dichotomy in my novel into humour and irony, but I didn’t have the courage until I read José Saramago’s The Gospel according to Jesus Christ and the South African author J.M. Coetzee’s trilogy on the same subject. 

‘It took me roughly a year [to write] and because of my loss of vision I had to dictate the text to a friend as well as my husband. This obliged me to write each chapter in my head. I was sensitive to sound and meaning because the writer is also a musician. The process was delicate and complex. I endeavored to give to the person I was dictating to the version I had written out in my head.

‘I have often said that working with my husband and translator, we become intimate enemies. For me, I feel dispossessed of my work when it is translated, but I confess that I am always excited to be introduced to the English-speaking world.’

Read the full interview here.

Maryse Condé

What the judges said

‘The book borrows from the tradition of magical realism and draws us into a world full of colour and life. This is a book that succeeds in mixing humour with poetry, and depth with lightness.’

What the critics said

Anderson Tepper, The New York Times

‘Throughout her four-decade literary career, the Guadeloupean writer has explored a global vision of the Black diaspora, and placed Caribbean life at the center. In the past few years, Condé has been showered with honors and accolades across the globe. The Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat sees Condé as a “giant of literature,” whose prolific work connects continents and generations. One thing is certain: Condé is finally receiving the acclaim her wide-ranging body of work deserves.’

Publisher’s Weekly

‘French novelist Condé (Waiting for the Waters to Rise) delivers an ingenious bildungsroman of a messianic figure in contemporary Martinique […] Condé does a lovely job with bringing her protagonist down to earth, covering the sacred and profane elements of Pascal’s life before his death at 33 in a tragic, unexpected manner. Readers will be transfixed.’

Lucy Popescu, Financial Times

In The Gospel According to the New World, her tone is often playful and she deftly intertwines biblical references with Caribbean folklore, but the narrative’s anecdotal style means certain storylines are abruptly curtailed or peter out and other characters are sketchily drawn. Ultimately, the book spreads itself too thinly to fully satisfy.’

Leighan Renaud, The Conversation

‘The novel, translated from French to English by Condé’s husband Richard Philcox, is full of wit, humour and allusion. It engages with questions of belief, philosophy and politics, and brings together a range of captivating characters from across the New World as Pascal grapples with his reputation as a new Messiah. I was unsure of what to expect, but I found Condé’s novel charming and full of heart.’

Baptiste Rossi, On Air

‘Sadly, Maryse Condé has lost her eyesight, and dictated this rich novel. She has however not lost her intelligent way of looking at life, her faculty for revisiting tales, or her gift of transcribing her impressions—culinary or erotic—to the art of storytelling, which she always enjoyed. In this sense, this book is a literary miracle.’

The Gospel According to the New World