Ghana Must Go: Taiye Selasi

A former Canadian colleague of mine mentioned that she didn’t like American literature. She said she hated the Civil War. I didn’t say anything, but I thought to myself, is that all American writers pen? Moving beyond Gone With the Wind, twice this week I’ve had to mention that I don’t read much African literature and while I don’t have reasoning as foolish as above, it is something I’m not proud to state.

Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go continues to generate a bit of a buzz around the web. I read a summary before the book’s publication and even skimmed a few reviews here and there. If you haven’t heard of it by now, here’s the excerpt:

He didn’t want a garden. He couldn’t have been clearer. Nothing lush, soft, or verdant; all the lines clean, etc. (In fact, he didn’t want the things that he associates with gardens, like Fola or the English, on his property, in his sight.) He wanted pebbles, as in the driveway, a wall-to-wall carpet of white pebbles covering the plot like fresh snow around a rectangular pool. With the sun glinting brilliantly off the white and the water, the blazing heat kept at bay by a concrete overhang. This is what he’d sketched in the Beth Israel cafeteria, sipping cheap, lukewarm coffee, stinking of disinfectant and death. A chlorine-blue box on a beach of bleached white. Sterile, square, elemental. An orderly view.

And the life that came with it: getting out of bed every morning, coming to sit in his little sunroom with the paper and a croissant, sipping fresh, expensive coffee served by a butler named Kofi to whom he’d speak in a British accent (somewhat inexplicably),

“That will be all.” All his children sleeping comfortably in the bedroom wing (now the guest bedroom wing), his cook cooking breakfast in the dining wing. And Fola. By far the best part of the view: in her one-piece white bathing suit swimming the last of her morning laps, Afro bejeweled with droplets, rising dripping from the water like Aphrodite from waves (somewhat improbably; she hated getting her hair wet), and waving. (Read more . . .)

The author video clip alone has me interested enough to find a copy. More to say about this title in the near future, hopefully. In the meantime . . .

Happy reading, y’all.


6 thoughts on “Ghana Must Go: Taiye Selasi

  1. I wish I could be one of those out of the box thinkers. She doesn’t strike me as a conventional thinker and that is what makes her interesting to me.


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