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Ghana Must Go

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  3,203 ratings  ·  530 reviews
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 un ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published January 1st 2013)
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·Karen·
Jul 13, 2013 ·Karen· added it
Shelves: africa
"So what d'you reckon, did you fall for the hype on this one?"
"Well, yes, to a certain extent. I mean with over 100,000 new books being published each year in the UK alone, there's no way to escape the danger of being led down the marketing path really, is there? I mean I read some reviews, but they've all been blinded too, by the celebrity endorsements from Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie, and they can hardly fail to be impressed by the appeal of a strikingly good-looking young woman author, i
...more
·Karen·
This is how a reader gets the distinct feeling of being ripped off: when the publishers are obviously so keen to jump on the publicity bandwagon that they don't bother with a proof read at all. How else would you explain the mis-spelling of the main character's name in the blurb on the back? All through the novel his name is Kweku Sai, the blurb has him Kwaku.
Worse: page 79. "Until this very moment Kweku would have bet money that her younger son couldn't have said where he worked-not the name of
...more
Roxane
Real talk, the first third or so of the book is a damn mess--slow, not fully realized, kind of irritating because it could be better with.... more editing, perhaps, or more care. BUT. The last 2/3 of the book is outstanding and electric. If you are an immigrant or child of immigrants you will feel like this book knows you, down to your bones. And you will know this book, down to its bones. The prose style is original and as raw as it is poetic. The narrative structure is also intriguing. Selasi ...more
Rowena
“Then Ghana, and the smell of Ghana, a contradiction, a cracked clay pot: the smell of dryness, wetness, both, the damp earth and dry of dust. The airport. Bodies pushing, pulling, shouting, begging, touching, breathing. He’d forgotten the bodies. The proximity of bodies. In America the bodies were distant. The warmth of it"

Ghanaian doctor Kweku Sai loses his job in the US, abandons his Nigerian wife and his four children and moves back to Ghana. Years later, when Sai dies from a heart attack, h
...more
Rebecca Foster
Much as I resisted it to start with, I ended up loving this beautiful novel about a complex African-American family full of secrets, estrangements, and shifting alliances. Despite their disparate settings, the storyline reminded me most of Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave .

With its wise commentary on race and class in America, it also brought to mind one of my absolute favorites, On Beauty by Zadie Smith, whom I think Selasi is destined to join in the top rank of contemporary autho
...more
Antonomasia
Jun 15, 2013 Antonomasia rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jonathan Franzen fans, perhaps
Philip Hensher encapsulated it in his Spectator review of the Granta Best Young British Novelists, of whom Selasi is one.

bog-standard products of the American creative-writing machine: present-tense narratives introducing western readers to exotic places, with a surface conventional lyricism and a glossary explaining how to pronounce Lagos.

Those who don't share this jaded, cynical sense of a generic litfic / creative writing course / MFA style may take more kindly to Ghana Must Go, a family sag
...more
Zanna
It's not you, Taiye, it's me.

I don't know why I feel like none of the characters have enough of a personality to seem human, despite being well stocked with anguished personal histories and appropriate mixes of generic and unique traits (except Olu's Asian American wife Ling, who seems particularly ill-served. Her politely racist father, direct from central casting, is at least spared the indignity of being thought 'cute') But perhaps the viewpoint-shifting and relentless interiority sets the ba
...more
Chad Walker
About 10 years ago, I spent 3-4 months teaching English in a tiny Ghanaian village (electricity only in two or three houses, no running water) in the heart of the Ashanti region. I realize that a) this does not make me an expert on Ghana, and b) is not a particularly unique experience; however, it does mean that I have a very soft spot in my heart for Ghana. After reading the blurb on this, and reading about the author's backstory after seeing her short story in last year's Best American, I was ...more
Chidi
If this novel was used in a word association game, my first words would be Zadie Smith's WHITE TEETH. Both debut novels exhibit raw talent and beauty. Both women handle serious topics such as race, class, gender, ambition, social status with tremendous ease. Both novels, however, are incredibly overwritten, dripping with prose that should have been left on the cutting room floor. I'm thinking here of the description of Kweku's death and how Selasi goes in super slo-mo to describe every detail of ...more
jo
what i liked most in this book, what kept me electrified from the first sentence, is the language. i loved the language. wow. poetic passages with not a shred of tiresomeness. originality of vision. beautiful.

in the last third, the story got in the way. truth be told, i was all about kweku. his tragedy, told almost indirectly, through his kids' stories, through the flashbacks he's having as he's dying, is powerful and delicate and so poignant. a brilliant man, an accomplished man, an african li
...more
Melanie Greene
http://dakimel.blogspot.com/2013/04/p...

You guys. I literally - like, actually, physically, inexplicably - had to stop myself from taking a bite of this book. My desire to devour it, to internalize it and at the same time, to curl up in it and be surrounded by it, was that strong.

So, Kweku, the father of four, brilliant surgeon, loving husband, and then - none of those things, abandoning the roles without actually leaving them behind in his heart. Sixteen years after he left Boston and his fami
...more
Andre
Absolutely terrific. A stunning debut. This is a family tale, told with such realism the prose just sings off the page. She describes one character thusly, "Ama isn't a fighter. She comes to breakfast without weapons and to bed in the evening undressed and unarmed." Damn! This is the kind of writing you will be treated to when you read this novel. The story evolves in a circular manner, which keeps things tense and exciting.

The novel opens with the death of Kweku Sai, a father, husband and reno
...more
Kima

When I tell you the girl slayed the ending, the girl slayeeeeeeeeeeeed the ending. Part I was superfluous in places, but once you get into Selasi's rhythm, she has you.

A novel built on pacts-- those kept and those broken.

Looking forward to more of Selasi's work in the future.
Cindy McKenzie
After spending ages at a Waterstones in London, during one of my Me Time trips where I got to wander around freely, I decided on Ghana Must Go. I had come across Ghana Must Go and Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah through links from Myslexia.

At first, I could not get into it -mostly because I could not concentrate at the time. I had to reread the first few pages a few times. It may sound dumb, but I was confused by the cameraman and only understood later on, or I thought I did, when Mr Lamptey sai
...more
Danna
Ghana Must Go was a tough read because (1) the author's style is poetic and not always forward-moving, (2) the character focus shifts without warning and it takes time to determine who you're reading about, and (3) it is extremely painful. Despite these challenges, Ghana Must Go moved my soul, which is why I rated it four stars.

Kweku and Folusade Sai are the family patriarch and matriarch. Kweku is a renowned surgeon who was born in Ghana and educated in the US. Once his schooling was complete,
...more
Mmars
So often this book read like a long prose poem. This paragraph tells of Olu, the eldest son who has followed in his father's footsteps and become a doctor, sitting in his obsessively white New York bedroom after just learning that his long absent father has died at the age of 57 in Ghana.

"He sits in his scrubs with the shirt in the dark, with the moon making ice of the floor and the walls, and thinks maybe she's right, all this white is oppressive, apathetic; a bedroom shouldn't be an OR. In th
...more
Marcy
Ghana Must Go was pure poetry!!!!! Taiye Selasi portrayed this story by revealing each character's innermost thoughts and feelings, multiple viewpoints, piece by piece, about a family from Africa...

This story begins with Kweku's fatal heart attack in Ghana in his fifties. He is married to Ama, a woman who loves him, wanting nothing from him, demanding nothing. She is content. "He believes he loves Ama because of the symmetry between them, between his capacity for provision and her prerequisites
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Ultimately, I grew weary of the repetitive storytelling that was still happening 100 pages in. The minute details of the man's death were hardly interesting the first time around.
Ayelet Waldman
The language! It's written in meter! One of my favorites of the year.
Marla
Sometimes I have trouble falling into the rhythm of a writer's voice. It takes time, like listening to Shakespeare. At first you struggle to listen (to hear), then all of sudden you've found the cadence and you're reading effortlessly. This book took longer than most. It's not an easy read. There's lots of movement back and forth in time. It's very complex. The writing unusual. The beginning seemed almost a stream of consciousness...run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, some of it seemed stilt ...more
Siobhan
Glorious! Admittedly this book may have a rough entry for some readers but it unfolds into an absolutely exquisite and poetic novel. It's a rare thing to find a contemporary novel about the modern African immigrant experience and I am so grateful to have read one that has Ghana as it's subject and is so masterfully written. All of the characters are deeply and lovingly drawn so that the reader not only feels completely invested in their fates but will doubtless be thinking of them long after fin ...more
Heather
This is a stunningly beautiful, complex and shocking novel that tells the story of a family.

The book starts with the death of Kweku in Ghana, a well respected surgeon and father of 4. The book then flips in time as his 4 children, scattered across America, are brought together in Africa for his funeral.

The language of this book is stunning. At times I found it a bit too floral, like I was reading an extended poem, but as the story progressed and I became more engrossed in the characters I foun
...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
hovering close to five. this is an excellent novel; gorgeous writing, great story of a family grieving in so many ways - and also a story of healing. I'm already starting to think of my end-of-year list, and this one is going to be on it. ***maybe more later***
Michele Weiner
This is a simple story told in a complicated way ---which I assume was characteristically Ghanaian or at least African. It winds around and around, teases, foreshadows, symbolizes, and finally lays out the facts as clearly as any American could wish. The story begins with the death and the birth of the father, Kweku, who grows up in a little seaside village in Ghana. Abandoned by his father, Kweku fights and studies his way to America, where he becomes a doctor. He begins at Liberty College in P ...more
Sarah Weathersby
"Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs." The first line of the novel. Kweku Sai, a Ghanaian physician educated in the US, father of four children born in the US, dies of a heart attack in Ghana, leaving his slippers so as not to disturb his second wife.

And so it begins with the ending, a circuitous tale telling of the medical career of Kweku, the growing of his family with his beautiful wife, Fola, and the raising of their children i
...more
Jennifer
I would not have stuck with this book if it weren't a selection of my Primary Source book group. The story itself is a good one. A Ghanian expelled from Nigeria in the "Ghana Must Go" policy finds himself in Boston where he pursues a medical career and raises a family. Yet, he abandons that family to return to Accra years later. His wife sticks it out for awhile, and also returns. The story opens with his death many years later and follows the trails of his wife and 4 highly accomplished but emo ...more
Dera

I guess it was dysfunctional family month. Wow, this book was all over the place literally from the African continent to the U.S. east coast and all over with the back in time and place. The author did a good job of detailing the African immigrant's assimilation in the States. The story of a man who left his family in America and began another life in Ghana made me think of Obama's Dreams of My Father. What is it to be feted and lauded as brilliant as an immigrant only to fail the ones you love
...more
Paula
I read this book after hearing Taiye Selasi being interviewed on the Diane Rehm Show. It is the story of Kweku, from Ghana, and Fola, from Nigeria, and their family of four children. Kweku and Fola met in the United States where they came to attend college and Kweku went on to medical school. Their lives are revealed as the book progresses in three parts: Gone, Going, Go. The novel begins with Kweku's death and tells the story of love, loss, joy, sorrow, and separation in the family. Gone is abo ...more
Maria
Che cos'è la bellezza?
La bellezza è una lacrima troppo densa, un'emozione rotta che si blocca in gola.
La bellezza è un abbraccio stretto, le unghie nella carne, un abbraccio con tutto il corpo, per paura di mollare la presa e cadere a pezzi.
La bellezza è tornare a casa e scoprire di non essere mai partito.
La bellezza è la sensazione di appartenere a qualcosa, di farne parte ancora, nonostante tutto.

Continua qui: http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....
Robert Wechsler
There are many similarities between this novel and Patrick Flanery’s Absolution of the same year. They are both first novels, they are both about memory and relationships, they both rely on revelations, and they both have to do with Africa (different parts), even though neither author is from there (although Selasi’s parents are).

They are also very ambitious first novels. But what makes Ghana Must Go the better of the two is that it is not quite so ambitious and works better. It is also wiser, i
...more
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Our Novel Escape: * August 2014 - Ghana Must Go 3 20 Aug 28, 2014 04:45PM  
Different Title?? Don't be confused 1 5 Jun 05, 2014 03:51AM  
African Fiction: Ghana Must Go Review & Discussion 2 22 Oct 30, 2013 02:19PM  
Depressing and troubling but mesmerizing 3 30 Sep 27, 2013 09:49AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add this book es edition 3 15 Sep 19, 2013 05:59PM  
Great African Reads: 'Ghana Must Go' Nominated | 2013 2 22 Sep 04, 2013 05:22PM  
The Readers: YWTB #4 - Taiye Selasi 1 11 Aug 12, 2013 11:20AM  
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Born in London to Nigerian and Ghanaian parents, Taiye Selasi was raised in Massachusetts. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale before returning to England to earn an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford. In 2006 Taiye joined the WGAE Screenwriting Lab at Colubmia University, studying under Oscar nominee Zach Sklar (JFK). Sid Ganis will produce her first feature WHITE GIRL, co-written ...more
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“They were doers and thinkers and lovers and seekers and givers, but dreamers, most dangerously of all.
They were dreamer-women.
Very dangerous women.
Who looked at the world through their wide dreamer-eyes and saw it not as it was, "brutal, senseless," etc., but worse, as it might be or might yet become.
So, insatiable women.
Un-pleasable women.”
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“She sleeps like a cocoyam. A thing without senses. She sleeps like his mother, unplugged from the world.” 4 likes
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