Books Reviews

Book Review: Ghana Must Go By Taiye Selasi (An Emotional Story of Love, Loss and Reconciliation)

“They were doers and thinkers and lovers and seekers and givers, but dreamers, most dangerously of all. They were dreamer-women. Very dangerous women. Who looked at the world through their wide dreamer-eyes and saw it not as it was, “brutal, senseless,” etc., but worse, as it might be or might yet become. So, insatiable women. Un-pleasable women.”

What’s The Book About?

Meet the Sais, a Nigerian-Ghanaian family living in the United States. A family prospering until the day father and surgeon Kweku Sai is victim of a grave injustice. Ashamed, he abandons his beautiful wife Fola and their little boys and girls, causing the family to fracture and spiral out into the world – New York, London, West Africa, New England – on uncertain, troubled journeys until, many years later, tragedy unites them. Now this broken family has a chance to heal – but can the Sais take it?

The Review 

Taiye Selasi is a talented writer no doubt and Ghana Must Go is a manifestation of this talent. The writing is lyrical and poetic in a way that almost makes time stops. This is one of the reasons why the book has received a divisive response, you either love it or you hate it, especially because the opening chapter takes a bit of work to get into. But if you’re reader that is patient with the journey that the author is trying to take you on, I promise you will find this to be a rewarding read.

Ghana Must Go carries a lot of emotional weight. The characters are complex, and the story is haunting and tragic. I love that the book explores the complexities of family relations, especially how trauma can destroy but also bind. In terms of characters, I have to thank Taiye Selasi for writing to life one of my all time favourite male characters – Kehinde. You have to read the book to appreciate his characterisation in the book which defies a lot of stereotypes of men in African literature. The book would have been a five star read but unfortunately something felt missing with the ending.

Top Three Quotes

“It would happen to someone else, a million and one someone elses: the same senseless losses, the same tearless hurts. This was one perk of growing up poor in the tropics.”

“Death must take place in the heart to be believed in. After love dies man believes in his death.”

“And what happens to daughters whose mothers betray them? They don’t become huggable like Sadie, Taiwo thinks. They don’t become giggly, adorable like Ling. They grow shells. Become hardened. They stop being girls. Though they look like girls and act like girls and flirt like girls and kiss like girls—really, they’re generals, commandos at war, riding out at first light to preempt further strikes. With an army behind them, their talents their horsemen, their brilliance and beauty and anything else they may have at their disposal dispatched into battle to capture the castle, to bring back the Honor. Of course, it doesn’t work. For they burn down the village in search of the safety they lost, every time, Taiwo knows.”


✯✯✯✯- Hooked

Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯- Hooked
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!


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