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The unravelling of a family
on 11 February 2014
Occasionally there are books that completely absorb me, like being parched thirsty and plunging into a deep well. Ghana Must Go is one such book. Captivating, dazzling and utterly heart wrenching, it chronicles the unravelling of a Nigerian-Ghanaian family living in the United States.
A shameful yet frustratingly surmountable event compels the father, Kweku Sai, to brusquely leave his gorgeous wife Fola and their four little boys and girls, causing them to fracture and spiral out into the world – New York, London, West Africa – on uncertain and troubled journeys. We see them grow up and forge their own paths in life, fiercely licking the wounds of their difficult adolescence, only to be reunited around their mother when they finally need each other most.
Taiye Selasi writes beautifully, disguising poetry as prose, often cloaking her words in delicious rhythms that tick through your head as you read. She paints a powerful picture of a broken family, disturbing in parts, examining the astonishing resilience and fragility of human beings and relationships, and peeling back the layers of each character to the extent that you long to reach out and hold them.
Reminiscent of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jhumpa Lahiri (two of my favourite authors), but with greater warmth and depth, Ghana Must Go explores how it is to live across cultures, touching on themes and evoking emotions that resonate with us all.
Short sentences and quick-fire dialogues are interspersed with lilting descriptions, and observations so perceptive that they make you catch your breath. A stunning passage on seeing beauty in ugliness and ugliness in beauty made me pause to reread and reflect, a thought-provoking surprise within the narrative.
All in all Ghana Must Go is an unforgettable, powerful and affecting novel. It totally blew me away… don’t miss out on this daring and mesmerising tour-de-force!