Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go

4.0 12
by Taiye Selasi
     
 

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Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the

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Overview

Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.  

Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sais’ circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.

Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/07/2013
Selasi’s gorgeous debut is a thoughtful look at how the sacrifices we make for our family can be its very undoing. After arriving in America from Ghana, a promising but penniless young man, Kweku Sai, becomes a famed surgeon living in Boston with his wife, Fola, and children, proof of the American dream. Years later, now 57 and married to another woman, Kweku, back in Ghana, is dying in the garden of his home in Accra. After his death, Fola and their four grown children gather in Ghana for the funeral of the man who abandoned them 16 years ago. This emotional reunion reveals to what extent Kweku fractured his beloved family by leaving them. The twins, Taiwo and Kehinde, once inseparable, have not spoken in 18 months; wounded by something neither will disclose, their bond has been eroded by anguish. Olu, the eldest, emulates his father in business but wants his marriage to be “something better than” the family he knows. And the youngest, Sadie, feels inadequate in the shadow of her successful siblings. Reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri but with even greater warmth and vibrancy, Selasi’s novel, driven by her eloquent prose, tells the powerful story of a family discovering that what once held them together could make them whole again. Agent: The Wylie Agency. (Mar.)
The Economist
Ghana Must Go comes with a bagload of prepublication praise. For once, the brouhaha is well deserved. Ms Selasi has an eye for the perfect detail… As a writer she has a keen sense of the baggage of childhood pain and an unforgettable voice on the page. Miss out on Ghana Must Go and you will miss one of the best new novels of the season.
Kirkus Reviews
The bonds of love, loss and misunderstanding connecting an African family are exhaustively dissected in a convoluted first novel. The death of Kweku Sai, a noted surgeon, in the garden of his home in Accra, Ghana, on page one is followed by an impressionistic account of his life--glimpses of childhood and parenthood, moments of shame and bad decisions, regrets, ironies and final thoughts. One central event was the breakup of Kweku's marriage to Fola and separation from his four children: Olu, twins Taiwo and Kehinde and youngest Sadie. The remainder of the book follows the impact of the patriarch's death on this group, which assembles for the funeral. Olu, now half of a Boston-based "golden couple," doesn't believe in family. Taiwo is still in therapy after her high-profile student affair with the dean of law. Artist Kehinde, hiding in Brooklyn, yearns shamefully for his sister. And anxious Sadie is bulimic and withdrawn. This complicated cast is matched by Selasi's taste for fragmented, overloaded sentences: "That still farther, past ‘free,' there lay ‘loved,' in her laughter, lay ‘home' in her touch, in the soft of her Afro?" More secrets, wounds and identity crises are rehashed in Africa, until the scattering of the ashes restores some unity. Introverted, clotted, short of narrative drive and, above all, unconvincing, this sensitive but obsessive family anatomization will test the patience of many readers.
Library Journal
At the opening of Selasi's debut novel is Kweku Sai's death. The family he abandoned goes on a trip to Ghana to pay their respects and also on a journey of remembrance as Selasi skillfully reveals the pain each family member endures. The narrative details the Sai family's collective grief but also their discrete heartaches and individual coping strategies. With craft and compassion, Selasi allows Fola, Kweku's first wife, and her four children to tell their distinct stories in their own voices: the eldest son, Olu, who attempts to follow in his father's footsteps; the talented twins, Taiwo, a law student, and her brother Kehinde, an artist; and Sadie, the youngest daughter who barely knew her father. When the family reunites in Fola's new Ghanaian home, their individual as well as joint healing begins. VERDICT Unleashing a strong new literary voice, Selasi joins other gifted writers such as Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat with connections to Africa or the African diaspora. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/12.]—Faye Chadwell, Univ. of Oregon Libs., Eugene

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594204494
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.12(d)

What People are saying about this

Sapphire
Taiye Selasi is a totally new and near perfect voice that spans continents and social stratum as effortlessly as the insertion of an ellipsis or a dash. With mesmerizing craftsmanship and massive imagination she takes the reader on an unforgettable journey across continents and most importantly deeply into the lives of the people whom she writes about. She de-"exoticizes" whole populations and demographics and brings them firmly into the reader’s view as complicated and complex human beings.
Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go is a big novel, elemental, meditative, and mesmerizing; and when one adds the words "first novel," we speak about the beginning of an amazing career and a very promising life in letters.—Sapphire
Elizabeth Gilbert
Taiye Selasi is a young writer of staggering gifts and extraordinary sensitivity. Ghana Must Go seems to contain the entire world, and I shall never forget it.—Elizabeth Gilbert
From the Publisher
Nell Freudenberger, The New York Times Book Review:
"Selasi’s ambition—to show her readers not "Africa" but one African family, authors of their own achievements and failures—is one that can be applauded no matter what accent you give the word."

The Wall Street Journal:
“Irresistible from the first line—'Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs'—this bright, rhapsodic debut stood out in the thriving field of fiction about the African diaspora.”

The Economist:
"Ghana Must Go comes with a bagload of prepublication praise. For once, the brouhaha is well deserved. Ms. Selasi has an eye for the perfect detail: a baby's toenails 'like dewdrops', a woman sleeps 'like a cocoyam. A thing without senses... unplugged from the world.' As a writer she has a keen sense of the baggage of childhood pain and an unforgettable voice on the page. Miss out on Ghana Must Go and you will miss one of the best new novels of the season."

The Wall Street Journal:
"Buoyant... a joy... Rapturous."

Entertainment Weekly:
"[Selasi] writes elegantly about the ways people grow apart — husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and kids."

Elle magazine:
"In Ghana Must Go, Selasi drives the six characters skillfully through past and present, unearthing old betrayals and unexplained grievances at a delicious pace. By the time the surviving five convene at a funeral in Ghana, we are invested in their reconciliation—which is both realistically shaky and dramatically satisfying… Narrative gold."

The Daily Beast:
"Selasi’s prose… is a rewarding mix of soulful conjuring and intelligent introspection, and points to a bright future."

Booklist:
"Powerful... A finely crafted yarn that seamlessly weaves the past and present, Selasi’s moving debut expertly limns the way the bonds of family endure even when they are tested and strained."

Publishers Weekly (starred review):
"Gorgeous. Reminiscent of Jhumpa Lahiri but with even greater warmth and vibrancy, Selasi’s novel, driven by her eloquent prose, tells the powerful story of a family discovering that what once held them together could make them whole again."

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love:
"Taiye Selasi is a young writer of staggering gifts and extraordinary sensitivity. Ghana Must Go seems to contain the entire world, and I shall never forget it.”

Sapphire, author of The Kid and Push:
"Taiye Selasi is a totally new and near perfect voice that spans continents and social strata as effortlessly as the insertion of an ellipsis or a dash. With mesmerizing craftsmanship and massive imagination she takes the reader on an unforgettable journey across continents and most importantly deeply into the lives of the people whom she writes about. She de-'exoticizes' whole populations and demographics and brings them firmly into the readers view as complicated and complex human beings. Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go is a big novel, elemental, meditative, and mesmerizing; and when one adds the words 'first novel,' we speak about the beginning of an amazing career and a very promising life in letters."

Teju Cole, author of Open City:
"Ghana Must Go is both a fast moving story of one family's fortunes and an ecstatic exploration of the inner lives of its members. With her perfectly-pitched prose and flawless technique, Selasi does more than merely renew our sense of the African novel: she renews our sense of the novel, period. An astonishing debut."

Teju Cole
Ghana Must Go is both a fast moving story of one family’s fortunes and an ecstatic exploration of the inner lives of its members. With her perfectly-pitched prose and flawless technique, Selasi does more than merely renew our sense of the African novel: she renews our sense of the novel, period. An astonishing debut.—Teju Cole

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