Have you heard of Taiye Selasi?
Have you read Ghana must Go?
Ghana Must Go is a must read.
You really need to read Ghana Must Go.
The questions and statements above came from one person, Lady W, over an extended period of time.
I knew the name Taiye was an indication of one half of a set of twins and as for Ghana Must Go, I linked the phrase to two things– the infamous forced eviction of the Ghanaians who lived in Nigeria before I was born and the rugged blue/red and white striped bags, trusted for their durability.
Then, Lady W told me about the birth of the term, Afropolitan and sent me the link to Selasi’s “I’m a multi-local Afropolitan” interview. I remarked that sometimes authors are more interesting than expected (with reference to their works) and I indulged her by watching the video.
Taiye Selasi is indeed an interesting author, even Elle headlined an interview with her as The Fascinator. After 15 weeks of reading and re-reading the richly crafted phrases in her debut novel, Ghana Must Go, it is indisputably laced with everything she embodies.
15 weeks? That’s an awful long time to complete a novel, you may be thinking. You are right, it is. Here is a plausible explanation. I was reading 2 other books at the same time (still reading them)- A Thousand Splendid Suns and For You Mom, Finally AND life was happening. The truth of the matter is, Ghana Must Go is not a page-turner, but a mind-prober (Yup, I formed that word).
In her debut novel, Taiye Selasi reminds us of unraveling the mysteries of life, actions, reactions, happenings, events and simply being through society’s most basic unit, family.Layered with the intricacies of generations ladled with desires and spurred on by dreams, she takes her readers through the minds of the Sai family.
The deeper I got into their individual stories and shared commonalities, I arrived at the conclusion that if you really want to know about a person, ask about family. If the reply hesitates, but finally arrives splashed with colors and other eccentricities, the person may be on a journey that is not nearing a destination point anytime soon. If the reply is prompt and defined, one is no longer a traveler in search of answers, but has arrived home.
Ghana Must Go depicts Selasi on a double-edged quest via the vehicle of family to find home in all its ramifications and to tell a burning story. This bestows a very intimate nature on her words. The simplest of phrases tell this story in volumes:
“Where are his slippers?” – In reference to Kweku Sai, the father.
“They were dreamer women” – In reference to the ambitious women Kweku encountered.
“The hours he worked were an expression of his affection”- In reference to Kweku and his long hours as a surgeon.
I really liked the cleverly themed subsections of the book- “Gone, Going, and Go” and referred to the family tree in the opening pages until I was well acquainted with all the characters.
This is not a novel to be rushed.
Each paragraph warrants a pause, a space to think- not just about the characters, but your life, your desires, and your relationships.
You can get a copy of Ghana Must Go on Amazon and hopefully, you would be finished in less than 15 weeks.