Friday, September 18, 2020

Book Review: "Transcendent Kingdom" by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi's newest novel, Transcendent Kingdom, is a beautiful, moving look at grief, faith, family, and science.

Gifty is studying for her PhD in neuroscience at Stanford. Her research deals with depression and addiction, two things she knows all too well. Her older brother Nana, a talented basketball player, died of an overdose after getting addicted to OxyContin following an injury, and her mother has been virtually bedridden with grief and depression since his death a number of years ago.

While Gifty hopes to find scientific explanations for the issues that affected her family and so many others, she doesn’t truly understand the toll they’ve taken on her emotionally until her mother comes to stay with her. And as Gifty tries to find ways of reaching her mother, and struggles with completing her own work, she remembers the days of attending her mother’s evangelical church and the comforts and challenges it brought her.

This was such a gorgeously written book, a story of racism and the immigrant experience, the pain of addiction, depression, and loss, and the clarifying power for some of both science and faith. I felt like the emotions of this book almost snuck up on me the way they did Gifty.

I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

No comments:

Post a Comment