Taiye Selasi and the Ghana Must Go Frenzy in Accra
I have a handful of emails in my inbox about events with Ghanaian/Nigerian/Afropolitan writer and filmmaker Taiye Selasi taking place on three different days in three different venues this week. Her book Ghana Must Go came out recently and with favourable reviews from the right outlets, the excitement among book nerds in Ghana has been palpable!
Tonight, I get to hear her speak (at the Yale Club of Ghana conference), so before her persona clouds my judgement of the book, I wanted to scribble down my mini review.
The story was not the usual returnee/ IJCB* story as it chronicles a whole family’s return to Africa rather than just one, hip 30-something. That means we have a nice gallery of people: two parents, four children, later a few partners, house keeper, friends and one new wife, but the basic frame is those six. Maybe I am biased to this group size, being one of four kids myself, however I believe it creates a certain space for the story to unfold.
The Ghana Must Go book is divided into three parts: Ghana, Must and Go. I love authors’ quirks like this – it is elegant and fun! “Ghana” about the father in Ghana and his house (oh, how I love this house…the slowly built, carefully designed dream…with rooms for all the children and a wild center of greens, grass that you can feel under your soles…almost an allegory to the Ghana Must Go Book?), “Must” about the troubled, beautiful and brilliant siblings, left in the US. Go about a return that heals.
And wow! There are many things to heal in this book. Wanna-be-authors get to hear there must be at least one major conflict and this book is overflowing of them! It is definitely not a feel good book, but to me it rings true.
The language is not overly decorated, but one that provides vivid images, maybe it is Ms Selasi’s filmmaker side that shines through? We also get served with insights – I kept highlighting little gemstones of them when I was reading.
To conclude, the hype is not for nothing – it is a great book in my opinion – one I will reread and recommend to many friends and students. And I heard the two prior events were full to the brim, oh how Ghana has been waiting for a literary star!
* I Just Came Back, read it in the last New African of African Business Review Magazine!