This arresting first novel comes garlanded with mighty expectations: translated into umpteen languages already, the author mentored by no less than Toni Morrison, advance approval from Salman Rushdie and cover quotes from Penelope Lively and Teju Cole. Is the hype justified? The generous answer is yes, though I worry about how the talented Taiye Selasi can follow this stunning opening act.
She can surely write, treating her readers to a superior range of linguistic turns - prose that goes from the bluntly compacted to the poetically nuanced, and best of all is just musical. The book's very first sentence sounds like a scrap of song lyric: "Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs."
From this start, Selasi puts together a moving story of a fragmented family, salvaging resolution from the secrets and lies of the past. At its heart is the impact of the death of the absent father, Kweku Sai, on those whom he left behind.
Kweku has been a respected Ghanaian surgeon in the US, with a loyal spouse and four children – an aspirational family living in Massachusetts in a house that emanates the sense of "ongoing effort, of an upswing midmotion, a thing being built."
Things fall apart when Kweku suffers the shame of wrongful dismissal and tries to hide it. He abandons America and his Nigerian-born wife Fola to return to ... Read Full Review