Ghana Must Go (Anglais) Broché – 2 janvier 2014
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Revue de presse
Ghana Must Go is both a fast moving story of one family's fortunes and an ecstatic exploration of the inner lives of its members. With her perfectly-pitched prose and flawless technique, Selasi does more than merely renew our sense of the African novel: she renews our sense of the novel, period. An astonishing debut (Teju Cole, author of Open City)
An eye for the perfect detail . . . an unforgettable voice on the page . . . miss out on Ghana Must Go and you will miss one of the best new novels of the season (The Economist)
Taiye Selasi is the woman the literary world is drooling over . . . [Ghana Must Go] is technically ambitious, poetically dense . . . an unpredictable family story of love, abandonment, aspiration and migration (Claire Allfree Metro)
Taiye Selasi writes with glittering poetic command, a sense of daring, and a deep emotional investment in the lives and transformations of her characters . . . a powerful portrait of a broken family (Diana Evans Guardian)
A most impressive first novel. . . She manages a generous coverage of time and space with adroit concision, along with a vibrant range of characters. The family is so convincing, with those telling problems of divided culture. Very much a novel of today (Penelope Lively)
Taiye Selasi is a young writer of staggering gifts and extraordinary sensitivity. Ghana Must Go seems to contain the entire world, and I shall never forget it (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love)
With mesmerizing craftsmanship and massive imagination [Taiye Selasi] takes the reader on an unforgettable journey across continents and most importantly deeply into the lives of the people whom she writes about. She de-"exoticizes" whole populations and demographics and brings them firmly into the readers view as complicated and complex human beings. Ghana Must Go is a big novel, elemental, meditative, and mesmerizing (Sapphire, author of The Kid and Push)
In Ghana Must Go, Selasi drives the six characters skillfully through past and present, unearthing old betrayals and unexplained grievances at a delicious pace. By the time the surviving five convene at a funeral in Ghana, we are invested in their reconciliation--which is both realistically shaky and dramatically satisfying ... Narrative gold (Elle)
Selasi's ambition - to show her readers not "Africa" but one African family, authors of their own achievements and failures - is one that can be applauded no matter what accent you give the word (Nell Freudenberger The New York Times)
The first line of Taiye Selasi's buoyant first novel, Ghana Must Go, captures the book in miniature: "Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs." The springy dactylic meter of the prose (KWEku dies BAREfoot on a . . .), the sly internal rhymes (Sunday, sunrise, doorway), the surprising twist on a cliché (to die like a dog), the invigorating mixture of darkness and drollery are a big part of what makes this book such a joy... It's an auspicious how-do-you-do to the world, and nearly every page of the novel displays the same bounce and animation... rapturous. (Wall Street Journal)
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There are no wasted words in this extraordinary novel. Each thought and each word fits into the whole. Kweku is 58 when he dies. He has four children, an ex wife and a new wife. Each of them comes to terms with his death in ways that are unexpected to them. Much bitterness has passed. He has taught himself and them that "loss is a notion. No more than a thought." But the small moments that elude closing the door on a grief or a memory come to light.
My favorite passage in the book is his trope on his new young wife, Ama. "She is a woman who can be satisfied." She is able to see to her needs without destroying the world around her. She is happy with him, and he is amazed. His first wife and his sister and his daughter were dangerous dreamer women. They saw the world as it could be making them insatiable. Despite the fact that I am of the dangerous variety, this vision of Ama is enchanting.
Kweku died without his slippers, yes I already said that. But his slippers come to symbolize the poor village boy, with scarred feet, who has come into the world of wealth and elegance where he might wear slippers. He dies without them in his wonderful house, back in Acra, overseeing the sea. The rest of the book is coming to terms. And to teach without being precious or hackneyed, the world is beautiful.
Ghana Must Go started off as a challenging read for me because the first 50 or so pages are grossly overwritten. For one thing, Kweku's death is relived by the reader at least four times in the first half of the book. Each time the death is revisited, it is perceived from a slightly different vantage point. To me, these retellings of the same incident in no way adds anything to the story's trajectory in any meaningful extent that would justify the repetition. There was also a lot of jumping back and forth between past and present and this inability to stay on one idea sometimes made the story hard to comprehend and connect with in a sustainable way. In the first half of the book, a number of people asked me if the book was good and I would respond with a very frustrated "I have no idea cause it won't get to the point."
Another very frustrating thing about the book was the way it segues into random philosophical musings. Rather than make me more attached to the story, these musings drew me away in a most jarring fashion. For example, there is a scene where Kweku goes looking for a carpenter. When he gets to the location, he is met by a little boy who is to be his guide in finding said carpenter. Here the story suddenly segues into four to five paragraphs about smiling children from impoverished circumstances and the implications of their cheerfulness even in the face of adversity. While these kinds of segues may have been interesting in their own right when inserted seemingly out of nowhere, all it did was distract me from the narrative.
But I forced myself to read on because there was a lot of beautiful writing that made me marvel at the author's skill with words.
This story like most stories of tortoured families is littered with the aftermath of loss, pain, sadness and all the things left unsaid. The Sai family is forced by the death of the errant father to confront all they have been running from, hoping never to deal. After I got beyond the overwritten first half, I was faced with a sad portrait of a family that despite their efforts to ignore his influence have never quite recovered from being abandoned. When reading stories like this, I always find myself aggravated by all the things that characters fail to say to each other that later lead to deep and far reaching problems. But I always have to remind myself that this is not only the provence of stories but a fact of real life. Human beings really do fail to communicate their real feelings to each, fail to connect at crucial moments and by so doing hurt each other, sometimes irreparably.
This book like it's characters is far from perfect but if you can make it past the sleepy writing style and pace in the first half, you will discover an interesting and haunting tale.
The novel opens with the death of Kweku Sai, a father, husband and renowned surgeon. We learn of this man's life and his children through looking back, but not in a linear way, but in a orbitual way, with the prose always shining. Kweku and his first wife have four children, who are given complexity and depth by Ms. Selasi's brilliant writing. Kweku has struggled hard to reach the heights of his profession, hailing from Ghana, to succeed in America, the often untold immigrant story, vividly on display here. His dutiful and beautiful wife Fola has borne him four children and has been a loyal partner. The family suddenly unravels due to a very unfortunate event. Or rather Kweku's response to this event. The domino effects of Kweku's decision will affect wife and children.
The fallout is quite disruptive and leads to a splintering of the family. The author skillfully weaves the differing perspectives of how this situation has impacted wife and children, over a number of years and numerous places. The children's stories are captivating and unforgettable, leaving an impression long after you've finished the book. Essentially, the novel seeks to answer the question of how does a family repair and recover, is it even possible? Was family ever a reality?
I think the book description sums it up best, "What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart..."
This is simply a great book, I guarantee you will find this novel on many top ten novel lists. Trust me!
Selasi magnificently details the relationships between the siblings; Olu, the oldest and most likely to take after his father; Taiwo and Kehinde, the true twins; and Sadie, the baby and their mother, Fola. Ghana Must Go goes back in time, exploring the identity of each the characters, specifically the complications they face trying to become perfect, successful imitations of their father. Almost like mini-novellas within the novel, readers learn about these siblings, the depths of their childhood and how it has shaped their being when they get the call about their father’s death. Wounds are exposed, years of unsaid horrors are brought to the surface, and the siblings, once separated by continents, will be forced to be together and share a moment of loss.
Fola, the mother, the last connection the siblings have to each other, reflects on her own issues, her close connection to her youngest, Sadie, who she fought so hard to save during childbirth. She deals with her wish for the best life for her bright, intellectually exceeding children, trying to break the cycle of the typical African immigrant family (one that moves to the states and the father moves back to Africa and abandons the family).
The book reminds me of the powerful move, August: Osage County, as they are both intense, emotional, and relatable to readers and viewers alike. They explore family dynamics, the specific issues behind each member and how all the puzzle pieces fit together.
Ghana Must Go is a breathtaking novel that pushes the concept of a typical novel, written in prose and verse that entangle readers emotionally, and you find yourself becoming connected with the characters. While the beginning may be hard to get into, the end of the novel will leave you wishing you could know more, be apart of such a marvelous work of realistic fiction.