Book #73 of 2020 | Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Title: Transcendent Kingdom

Author: Yaa Gyasi

Thoughts: I was hesitant to pick this up since I didn’t love the other Gyasi book I read earlier this year, Homegoing, but oh my goodness, I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved Transcendent Kingdom. It’s a story of mothers and daughters, a story of how complicated families always are, a story of science and faith and their inevitable intersection—and clash—and a story of becoming, of transcending. It certainly deals with some tough subjects, like addiction, but Gyasi approaches them in such a heartbreakingly beautiful way. While this is not an overtly religious book, I think that you’ll get more out of it and Gifty’s struggle to define her faith and its role in her life if you have a faith background. For me, that was my favorite theme!

Favorite Lines:
“Nana’s face returned the compliment, smiling in kind. My father’s heart was a lightbulb, dimming with age. Nana was pure light.” (p. 15)

“‘If you are living a godly life, a moral life, then everything you do can be a prayer,’ my mother said. ‘Instead of trying to pray all day, live your life as a prayer.'” (p. 52)

“Our brains are our hearts that feel and our minds that think and our souls that are.” (p. 74)

“Me, my mother, my mice—we were all a little scuffed up, but trying in whatever ways we knew how.” (p. 85)

“The ending, the answer, is never the hard part. The hard part is trying to figure out what the question is, trying to ask something interesting enough, different enough from what has already been asked, trying to make it all matter.” (p. 162)

“My journal entries were me trying to find a way into a place that has no entrances, no exits.” (p. 178)

“Of course, my mother is her own person. Of course, she contains multitudes. She reacts in ways that surprise me, in part, simply because she isn’t me.” (p. 222)

“But to be alive in the world, every day, as we are given more and more and more, as the nature of ‘what we can handle’ changes and our methods for how we handle it change, too, that’s something of a miracle.” (p. 244)

Click here to purchase Transcendent Kingdom

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