Transcendent Kingdom

Books on Tape. 2020. 830p. ISBN 9780593215302. $40. F
Gyasi’s (Homegoing) beautifully crafted story is a masterwork of intertwining time lines and narratives. Gifty, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, sees her family go from four to three to two when her father travels back to Ghana for a visit but never returns to the family home in Alabama and her brother, a star basketball player, injures his ankle, becomes hooked on pain pills, and dies of a heroin overdose. His death sends Gifty’s mother into a deep depression. As an adult, Gifty is studying neuroscience at Stanford when her mother suffers from another bout of depression and is sent to stay with her in California. Gifty begins to examine the spiritual beliefs she grew up with in her evangelical church, the emotions surrounding her brother’s addiction and her mother’s depression, and how each of those has affected her relationships as an adult. Bahni Turpin weaves Ghanaian words and accents and scientific terminology effortlessly into the narration of the story. Though the story is told from Gifty’s perspective, Turpin creates unique voices for the host of supporting characters and makes it feel like there is a cast of voice actors instead of just one.
VERDICT A must read. This is one of the rare books that is so well crafted, the narrative(s) flow so effortlessly, that you only feel the power of the story and don’t realize the complex structure underneath.
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