Four years after her debut, Yaa Gyasís has returned for a follow-up novel in the form of the Transcendent Kingdom.
Yaa Gyasis is a Ghanaian-America writer who became famous after her first book Homecoming was released in 2016, she completed her bachelors in English from Stanford University and is currently living in Berkeley, California. She spent most of her childhood living in Huntsville, Alabama, where her most recent book is based.
Homecoming won her several awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for the best first book; she also won the P.E.N./Hemingway Award for the first book of fiction along with the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honors for 2016 and the American Book Award.
The Transcendent Kingdom portrays the life of a Ghanaian family living in Alabama. The novel also focuses on many mental health and psychological aspects as the mother of the main protagonist, Gifty, is suicidal, and the book manages to portray her experience in dealing with her suicidal mother.
Gifty’s brother, Nana, had died recently due to a heroin overdose, and the book also manages to show her family’s grief and also Gifty’s faith in science as well as her religion.
Gifty is in her sixth year of studies for her P.H.D. in neuroscience at Stanford. She studies the behavior of mice as well as about the neural circuits of depression and addiction.
This book is very emotional yet is a great read, the author manages to touch on various subjects such as mental health, suicide, drug usage, she even manages to write about the problems faced by immigrants in a place like Alabama and also her connection with faith and God even with her huge belief in science.