Yaa Gyasi: Transcendent Kingdom (Hardcover, 2021, Knopf) 4 stars

Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller “Homegoing” is a powerful, raw, …

Review of 'Transcendent Kingdom' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

[b:Transcendent Kingdom|48570454|Transcendent Kingdom|Yaa Gyasi||73528567] combines science, religion, and a sad tale of addiction. I found the science part of it the most interesting, having long ago worked out any religion issues I may have had when I was young.
 The ending felt a little tacked on to me, but as it's a happy ending, what the hell, right?

I’m told that as a baby I was loud and chatty, the exact opposite of the quiet, shy person I turned out to be. Verbal fluency in young children has long been used as a signifier of future intelligence, and while that holds true for me, it’s the temperament change that I’m interested in. The fact that when I hear or see myself on tape from those early years of my life, I often feel as though I am witnessing an entirely different person. What happened to me? What kind of woman might I have become if all of that chattiness hadn’t changed direction, moved inward?
There are recordings of me from back then, audiotape after audiotape of my fast talking, perfect Twi or, first, my nonsense babbling. In one of the tapes, Nana is trying to tell the Chin Chin Man a story.
“The crocodile tilts his head back and opens his large mouth and—”
A shriek from me.
“A fly lands on the crocodile’s eye. He tries to—”
“Dada, dada, dada!” I shout.
If you listen to the tape closely, you can almost hear the Chin Chin Man’s patience in the face of Nana’s growing frustration and my unreasonable interruptions. He’s trying to pay attention to us both, but, of course, neither of us gets what we really want: complete and utter attention, attention without compromise.