Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Review: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Title: Transcendent Kingdom

AuthorYaa Gyasi

Year Published: 2020

Category: Adult fiction

Pages: 264
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map)USA (CA)

FTC Disclosure: I paid for this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief--a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut.
 
Review: I really enjoyed reading Homegoing by this same author and thought this book would be similar. I was right. And wrong. And while this one didn't work as well for me as Homegoing, it is well done.

Gyasi has a wonderful way with words; her writing and story flow over the pages pulling the reader in with a sense of calm. I felt this while reading both of her novels.

While Homegoing had a strong plot, Transcendent Kingdom is more character-driven. The reader learns about Gifty's mother through flashbacks and Gifty's feelings about her and the same is true for her brother and his troubles. But Gifty is the character of whom we learn the most as she puzzles over her experiments with mice and reflects on her religion. 

I do appreciate good character development, but I am more of a plot reader; I need a trajectory. This book is more reflective, introspective, and soul-searching.

Challenges for which this counts: 
This counts for the Popsugar challenge because it has a pink cover
 

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