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Transcendent Kingdom: A novel av Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom: A novel (urspr publ 2020; utgåvan 2020)

av Yaa Gyasi (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
7945420,705 (4.04)78
Titel:Transcendent Kingdom: A novel
Författare:Yaa Gyasi (Författare)
Info:Knopf (2020), 288 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


Transcendent Kingdom av Yaa Gyasi (2020)


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Gifty, the first-person narrator, is a Ph.D. student at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research question, as stated in the novel, is:
“Could optogenetics be used to identify the neural mechanisms involved in psychiatric illnesses where there are issues with reward-seeking, like in depression, where there is too much restraint in seeking pleasure, or drug addiction, where there is not enough?” (p. 44).

She is working with laboratory mice, but she has formulated her research goals to understand her mother’s depression and her brother’s death due to a heroin overdose. Her mother is living in her small California apartment, and the depression has been a huge issue in her mother’s life since Nana, her son died.

Gifty tells the story of her parents’ immigration to the United States from Ghana and her brother’s and her own life stories as flashbacks while conveying the present story of her life at Stanford. The writing flows beautifully as Gifty describes Ma’s experiences working as a caretaker and her father’s work as a school custodian. Although Chin-chin Man, Gifty’s father, wanted to leave Ghana, he eventually deserts his family and returns to his homeland to start life anew.

Nana had been a gifted athlete, first in soccer and then basketball. The absence of his father and the discrimination he faces in his Alabama neighborhood affect him greatly. He is not seen as a person but as a phenom in sports. After a minor injury, a doctor prescribes Oxycontin and his addiction begins. Once he was hooked, his life changed, and even after reasonable attempts at rehabilitation, he always relapsed and eventually died. One of Gifty’s reactions was a feeling of shame. Her mother became depressed. Since she didn’t believe in mental illness and was distrustful of psychiatrists, her mother suffered in silence. Gifty worried and became determined to understand depression and addiction through her college studies and career goals.

The family’s participation in a white southern church in Alabama provides many real-life experiences of blatant racism. Yet, for many years, Gifty believes in the church’s offerings and wants to be saved as a Christian. She doesn’t start questioning her religious upbringing until young adulthood. She always keeps some vestiges of Christianity close to her heart even when she has rejected most of what she had once believed.

This heartrending story is beautifully written and ends on an optimistic note after Gifty learns some life lessons, processes the value of relationships, and learns to trust. The title refers to transcendence at many levels. This quote from near the end of the novel sums it up without providing spoilers: “I wish I were trying to figure out how to clone an alien, but my work pursuits are much more modest: neurons and proteins and mammals. I’m no longer interested in other worlds or spiritual planes. I’ve seen enough in a mouse to understand transcendence, holiness, redemption. In people, I’ve seen even more.” (p. 264) Kindle Edition.

https://quipsandquotes.net/?p=620 ( )
  LindaLoretz | Jun 4, 2021 |
Brilliant. ( )
  RGilbraith | May 23, 2021 |
This is an amazing look at adversity and the isolation that can follow it.

Gifty is a sixth year PhD candidate in neuroscience studying addiction in mice.

She is from a family of immigrants from Ghana who came to Alabama. They were welcomed in a white evangelical church and lived in a white neighborhood.

But then Gifty’s father returned to Ghana, abandoning his family in the US.

The life of an impoverished family headed by a single mother was hard. While Gifty’s brother Nana was a basketball star, they found approval and support in their community and church.

But Nana had a tendon injury and was prescribed OxyContin. He became addicted and the community support dissolved – after all, blacks are known for their addictions. And life became harder.

Nana succumbed to his addiction. Gifty’s mother succumbed to grief, spending long periods of time not being able to get out of bed.

Gifty turned away from people and to science for answers. She longed for the evangelical church she had known in Ghana, but seemed to no longer be able to connect to God.

In a perfect world with a perfect ending, all could pull themselves up by their bootstraps (and maybe some help from faith). But real life is a struggle and not everyone makes it.

This is a very empathetic look at what addiction does to families when those in the community see ‘nothing but an addict’. Racism, anti-immigrant sentiments and isolation all rear their heads.

For me this would have been a five star read, but I disliked the last chapter, which seemed rather tacked on to me. ( )
  streamsong | May 13, 2021 |
It wasn’t a great sign: I waited several weeks to write a thumbnail review of “Transcendent Kingdom” – and I needed to check out book summaries to remember exactly what I had read. True, this tale of a child of immigrant parents from Ghana provides food for thought about mental illness and the devastating fallout it can cause. But there was a bit too much introspection for my liking. One reviewer reported “becoming impatient for it to reach its conclusion.” I shared the same impatience. Still, I did find Gifty to be an intriguing and “gritty” protagonist. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | May 12, 2021 |
No, I didn't love this book as much as Homegoing which is an all time favorite, but Yaa Gyasi has a writing style that invites me in. Gifty immigrates with her family from Ghana at a young age. Her father eventually leaves the family and returns home, and her Mom and brother have huge mental, emotional, and physical challenges to overcome. Gifty protects her heart by intellectualizing - she becomes highly educated, wraps herself up in her scientific world, and keeps to herself. Yet, throughout she struggles with wanting to grow and expand her world beyond her comfort zone. This story was more internally focused than Gyasi's last, and her brilliant writing made it another worthwhile read. ( )
  njinthesun | May 2, 2021 |
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