Book review: Ghana must go

Book review: Ghana must go

Book reviewGhana Must Go will introduce you to the Sais, a prospering Ghanaian-Nigerian family living in the states. It will take you through their humble beginnings, their struggle to prosper, the eventual advent of prosperity and consequently the destruction of that new found stability.

Anybody who has read Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go will tell you, even if not in the same words, that reading the first few chapters was like running through a thicket of forest shrubs with no clear view of where you are headed. But persevere and trudge on through the grove of winding sentences and dense prose and you will come to a clearing of wit and an exceptional prowess to describe in a scene, what one would not normally pay attention to; the things left unsaid in a conversation, for example.

She painlessly weaves through decades of separate stories that are part of a whole and doesn’t leave the writer behind. The story of each character’s conflict unravels sparingly throughout the novel.

Taiye demonstrates the appearance of an in-depth knowledge of the three countries she writes about in her book; Ghana, America and Nigeria. Her ability to capture the very essence of life in these countries especially Ghana and Nigeria is quite impressive seeing as she was born in London and raised in Massachusetts.

She truthfully juxtaposes the ugly of these cultures with the beautiful; the good with the bad, creating an honest interpretation in what makes them different and yet so very the same; a rare gem when it comes to Africans in the diaspora writing about the Africa they only half know.

Ghana Must Go is a gripping story of a multinational family in every sense of the word with a Ghanaian father and a Nigerian mother who fled to America to find their destinies and found each other. It’s a story about the many intricacies of a family torn apart by misfortune and mistakes and of the struggle to find each other again. They each go their separate ways; spread out to yet more countries to discover themselves but soon realise that they need each other to do this when tragedy strikes. A classic Searching-the-world-for-treasure -coming-back-home-to-find-it-at-your doorstep-but-picking-up-valuable-people-and-lessons-along-the-way story. She deftly expresses how leaving problems to fester over time creates bigger problems that cause one to inevitably implode.

It’s obvious from her name that the author is herself a twin and therefore captures in glorious detail the remarkable bond between Kehinde and Taiwo who seemed to be the main story within the of the story. It is, after all, their little secret that is the running thread of suspense throughout the narrative and the final lose end to be tied up.

Perhaps being a twin herself (One half of something alike and yet different) provides Taiye the ability to easily discern what makes any two variables that are superficially identical yet poles apart but both relevant. You’ll find this in her assessment of what she called “dreamer women” (educated women) and women with a simpler “animal genius” in chapter 9.

Her style is daring and fresh and like all revolutionary work, takes some getting used to. But the rewards are unforgettable.

Ghana must read Ghana Must Go.