Zoella Book Club August 2021 Reviewing Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply raw, compassionate and intimate novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama, ravaged by addiction, depression and grief.

Trigger warning: grief, race, addiction

They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in the case of Transcendent Kingdom judge away because the story it contains is even more captivating than its Instagramable pink and green jacket.

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply raw, compassionate and intimate novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama, ravaged by addiction, depression and grief. Yeah, possibly steer clear if you’re PMSing or on a fragile hangover because the tears will be on tap.

For anyone familiar with Gyasi’s award-winning debut Homegoing, this novel is the opposite in both scope and feel. With a laser-like focus on its characters, the author dissects grief with a deft touch, peeling back the layers of human suffering with unsentimental precision.

The narrator, Gifty, is a 28-year-old Ghanaian-American neuroscientist studying reward-seeking behaviour in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. If that went right over your head, fear not. This book belongs entirely to Gifty and her family story, as she looks to science for the answers she needs to make sense of the tragic loss of her brother Nana and her mother’s debilitating grief.

It is nothing short of a masterpiece and a work of whispered beauty and for that, Yaa Gyasi deserves to take the crown for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. Best of luck!

Keep scrolling to find out what the team thought of this month’s pick…

But first… the blurb:

As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.

Find the team’s reviews in the gallery below >

Purchase Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi through the here and enjoy 10% off your first order with the code ZOELLA10 at checkout, valid until September 30 2021. All sales support independent bookshops across the UK. Select a bookshop from the map before browsing so your chosen bookseller will receive the direct benefit of the sale. Thank you for supporting independent bookshops!


February Book Club 2020: Such A Fun Age

For this month's Book Club, we're reviewing Kiley Reid's debut novel, 'Such A Fun Age'. Dubbed the most provocative page-turner of 2020, we can't wait to get stuck in!

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

Buy the book here. (Ad-Affiliate link)

Will you be reading along with us this month? Don’t forget to tag us in your posts using the hashtag #ZoellaBookclub