“We humans are reckless with our bodies, reckless with our lives, for no other reason than that we want to know what would happen, what it might feel like to brush up against death, to run right up to the edge of our lives, which is, in some ways, to live fully.”
Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom
Yaa Gyasi’s follow-up to her acclaimed, bestselling Homegoing is powerful, raw, and intimate. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a Ghanaian immigrant family ravaged by depression and addiction—a searing novel of faith, science, religion, and love.
Transcendent Kingdom introduces us to Gifty, a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford, studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Turning to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, Gifty finds herself hungering for her evangelical childhood faith, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive.
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Her debut novel, Homegoing, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honors for 2016, and the American Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn.
NPR’s Fresh Air, September 9, 2020
Women Who Travel Podcast, September 2, 2020
The Guardian, March 22, 2021
The New Yorker, September 7, 2020
“Absolutely transcendent. A gorgeously woven narrative about a woman trying to survive the grief of a brother lost to addiction and a mother trapped in depression while pursuing her ambitions. Not a word or idea out of place.”