Author: Taiye selasi
Title: Ghana must go
Pages: 285 (my copy)
Publisher/Publication date: Penguin Group Publishers / 2013
As depicted by the title, you can call the book a metaphor for the relationship between Ghanians and Nigerians and a witty reference to the mass deportation of two million Ghanians from Nigeria in 1983.
The genre is contemporary adult fiction.
The book was written in quite a perspective.
I can absolutely follow the author’s thesis. Before I go on, I’ll really love to write something on my mind: I’ve constantly wondered what you would pin the center of this book to be. As Chinua Achebe said, “when the center does not hold, things fall apart.”. What is the center that refused to hold here because things fell apart? Is it the fact that Kweku was painfully conscious of society’s expectations of him, or it’s the decay in the system at large, and in this case, the subset of the societal decay being the medical system? (if you’ve read the book, I’d appreciate your opinion on this in the comment section).
I like this book. It teaches on something core; valuing family. I must warn you though, the book is slightly incomprehensible if you’re not very determined to comprehend it. After a few chapters of determined reading, it gets smooth. It helped that I had read the various debates between lovers of this book and it’s haters(It’s essentially that way, you’re rarely ever passive about this book. You love or hate it – a lot), and so I was prepared to weather the first few uninviting chapters.
It’s only initially difficult to comprehend because the author didn’t write it in a conventional manner but as someone put it, in a mathematical and poetic manner all at once.
Reading this book, my personal experience was one of questioning imbalanced systems. Its so awful how that one person’s selfish ambition can trigger a few events to scatter a family. Selfishness is deadly. Your selfishness at your place of work can ruin your workmate’s family. Enough said.
I’ve never read some other book by Taiye selasi. This is in fact, her debut.
The story is based on the death of Kweku Sai, father of a Ghanaian family which started out in the U.S. Pressure comes in and the family gets disintegrated. Upon Kweku’s death, the family reunites, however begrudgingly, and that is the start of the family’s redemption.
The characters are all credible and developed. We get certain chapters from the P.O.V of the family members. In the coming together of this family, they find there is unity and strength. They’re each other’s support system. And once again, they laugh, they truly laugh and wash off anger and depression.
There’s Olu the first son, walking in the steps of his father as a medical doctor and now specially married to Ling; there’s also the twins, Taiye and Kehinde; and the baby, Sadie. Of the twins, Kehinde is the male and he’s a popular artist who’s suffered from severe bouts of depression. Taiye, the lady, still has bitterness lodged in her heart from the days when her mother sent her to Nigeria.
Taiye Selasi invests into each character and I appreciate that.
I think this book is a good satire, perhaps without even intending to be. It critiques the society in Houston, in Ghana and in Nigeria.
It touches largely on the issue of identity. Kweku is Ghanaian and Folashade, Nigerian. How they find themselves in the U.S in the first place and how all three countries have worked out for them is explored.
In an interview I watched of the author some two years ago, certainly before I read the book, she admitted to writing the book in the hopes that the issue of identity gets considered as a serious one. A twin herself and mixed-blood, she writes from a place of experience.
I cannot tell you that the characters aren’t flawed, they are very flawed. Some childhood trauma affects all of them; parent and children alike.
I dislike the fact that I find it really hard to pick a favourite character.
I think its an interesting family drama that doesn’t read like one.
I recommend it to literature enthusiasts. I also rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Weldone Taiye selasi. She’s an author whose books I’ll look out for in the future.
P.S: guys, I bookmarked pages for excerpts but you have to believe me when I say I can’t quote any. If i attempt it, I’ll have to quote the whole book; so lyrical and poetically intelligent.
No excerpts, sorry.
So tell me, was I able to sell this one to you? Or you’re convinced it’s not your type of book?
And if you’ve read the book, you know it, let’s gist!