Transcendent Kingdom

A Novel

288 pages

English language

Published Aug. 8, 2020 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.


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4 stars (3 reviews)

Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national bestseller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama. Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University's School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behaviour in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to hard science to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply …

8 editions


3 stars

tl;dr I wasn't drawn into the central preoccupation with god v science and I just wanted to read a novel about the mom. --Longer: Nothing about the mouse research felt real--she glided through college and grad school in some sort of weird ease, without any depth other than setting her up to do the research that would let her meditate on religion and addiction. She just felt flat. But her mom and her brother--all the details about them hinted at huge rich stories about immigration and fitting in and economic mobility and sports fame. I just wanted to read about those things and not Gifty.

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5 stars


  • American literature