Monday, October 18, 2021

Book Review - Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

 Transcendent Kingdom is a lovely piece of fiction by Yaa Gyasi.  The writing is gorgeous. The story is interesting and profound. This is one of those books that, when done, you close it and have to take a breath and just think. 

Gifty is a PHD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford. She is working on reward-seeking behavior in mice to study depression and addiction. cover blurb -  Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on Oxy.  Her suicidal mother stays in bed. 

This book looks at Gifty's work, her search for answers, her family, and her hunger for faith. 

cover blurb - She grapples with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. 

Church vs. science. This is a theme of Transcendent Kingdom and is handled well by this gifted writer. 

p.33  We don't know what we don't know. We don't even know the questions we need to ask in order to find out, but when we learn one tiny little thing, a dim light comes on in a dark hallway, and suddenly new questions appear. 

p.63  But the memory lingered, the lesson I have never been able to quite shake - that I would always have something to prove and that nothing but blazing brilliance would be enough to prove it. 

Gifty is a gem of a person. Enjoy this book. Savor this book. And come away with hope. 


  1. Church versus science would have to be handled carefully all right.

    1. and it is - gifted writer with a great character to work with and watch grow

  2. Hi Joanne - I didn't know her - but I'm sure heard about her debut book 'Homecoming' ... so I will look into taking the books from the library - thanks for this excellent review - cheers Hilary