Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi struck my attention months ago listening to Food4ThotPodcast. They were discussing their favorite literature, and Ghana Must Go was acknowledged for its voice and the power of its writing. I'm sure I bought it that evening.

This book tells the story of a Ghanaian-Nigerian family - two parents and four children. It introduces them young, the kids growing up in the U.S. while the father completes medical school and goes on to become a surgeon, and it shows them all years later, broken apart across the world due to the tragedy of their eventual parents' abandonment when pride, perfectionism and doubt got in the way. 

He feels a second pang now for the existence of perfection, the stubborn existence of perfection in the most vulnerable of things and in the face of his refusal-logical-admirable refusal-to engage with this existence in his heart, in his mind. For the comfortless logic, the curse of clear sight, no matter which string he pulls on the same wretched knot: (a) the futility of seeing given the fatality in a place such as this where a mother still bloody must bury her newborn, hose off, and go home to pound yam into paste; (b) the persistence of beauty, in fragility of all places!, in a dewdrop at daybreak, a thing that will end, and in moments, and in a garden, and in Ghana, lush Ghana, soft Ghana, verdant Ghana, where fragile things die.
— Taiye Selasi, Ghana Must Go

Thus, you learn about each of them as if you've grown up with them. Parents Kweku and Folasadé and all the young talent they had that brought them to the U.S. and away from the painful lives they left behind. Eldest brother Olu, who would go on to become a doctor like his absent father, ever so serious. Twins Taiwo and Kehinde, born as if they shared one soul, striking in their beauty, torn down and almost separated by life and lust. And, finally, the youngest, Sadie, who almost did not live, who grew to become and seemingly always remain the baby of the family, and seeking independence from her mother. 

It is a family where every member was born to touch success and doubt it was his or her hand. And this weight on each of their shoulders drives them apart until their father dies, in Ghana, never knowing any of his children as adults. It forces them together around Christmastime, and each comes to recognize something new about the other, and the unwind the grip they have on themselves to be bolstered by their combined strength as family. 

Don't worry, this reveals very little, because Selasi goes into such detail about each of their lives and the pain that they carry. I recommend you pick up and read this book - get to know them.