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Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
Ghana Must Go - Taiye Selasi “Then Ghana, and the smell of Ghana, a contradiction, a cracked clay pot: the smell of dryness, wetness, both, the damp earth and dry of dust. The airport. Bodies pushing, pulling, shouting, begging, touching, breathing. He’d forgotten the bodies. The proximity of bodies. In America the bodies were distant. The warmth of it"

Ghanaian doctor Kweku Sai loses his job in the US, abandons his Nigerian wife and his four children and moves back to Ghana. Years later, when Sai dies from a heart attack, his family, who have not been in regular contact in the previous several years, go back “home” to Ghana for the funeral. The rest of the story outlines what they had to deal with after their father left.

I found this book so tragic. The entire family was hurt in one way or another by Sai's abandonment, as their personal stories show. One scene in particular was truly awful and I had to skip over the majority.

Selasi is a wonderful writer and this is such a great debut. Her writing is very beautiful and lyrical, though there were some instances where I wasn’t sure who was speaking as the point of view changed so abruptly. Sometimes she interrupts her straight-forward prose with something like this:

“Taiwo pursed her lips to mute her revulsion, but what she felt next had no shape and no sound:

An odd emptiness, weightlessness, as if she were floating, as if for a moment she’d ceased to exist: some new odd sort of sadness, part grief, part compassion, a helium sadness, too airless to bear.”

I like the fact that Selasi wrote a story about the African diaspora. I think it’s still a relatively new concept in African literature. I read somewhere that Selasi coined the term “Afropolitan” to describe Africans in the diaspora, and I hope to see more Afropolitan literature in the future.