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Publisher's Summary

A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK!
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER 
Finalist for the WOMEN'S PRIZE

Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.

Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. 

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief - a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut.

©2020 Yaa Gyasi (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Gyasi sometimes reminds me of other writers who’ve addressed the immigrant experience in America - Jhumpa Lahiri and Yiyun Li in particular.... As in the work of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or the Ghanaian-American short-story writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, the African immigrants in this novel exist at a certain remove from American racism, victims but also outsiders, marveling at the peculiar blindnesses of the locals...brilliant.... Transcendent Kingdom trades the blazing brilliance of Homegoing for another type of glory, more granular and difficult to name." (Nell Freudenberger, The New York Times Book Review)  

"The novel is full of brilliantly revealing moments, sometimes funny, often poignant.... [Gifty is] provokingly vital." (James Wood, The New Yorker)

"Laser-like.... A powerful, wholly unsentimental novel about family love, loss, belonging and belief that is more focused but just as daring as its predecessor, and to my mind even more successful.... [Transcendent Kingdom] is burningly dedicated to the question of meaning.... The pressure created gives her novel a hard, beautiful, diamantine luster." (Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal)

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What listeners say about Transcendent Kingdom

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Would have benefited from a different narrator

Bahni Turpin is undeniably talented, but I'm burnt out on her. Let's see more variety of female POC narrators. Please.

14 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written

This is an amazing story that brings to life trauma that the southern evangelical church quietly places in young spirits.

7 people found this helpful

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A mind book

Being a Psychology Major, this book resonated with me on so many levels from the lab rats, to mental health diagnosis. I loved every bit of it, even hearing another persons testimony on dealing with those you love fighting depression, addiction, and mental health and trying to fix them. Gifty spent her life trying to find cures or something to fix people like her brother and mother......I wonder whatever happened to her after the death of her mother, after Graduate school and did she find out why the mind acts the way it does while depressed, and or on an addiction. Great Read 👍 #Book29of2020 #bookworm #whatsnext

6 people found this helpful

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Turpin Reading Gyasi is Close to Perfection

Once again I am blown away by this talented young writer. I will eagerly anticipate each new offering she produces. I hope that Bahni Turpin will continue to narrate Gyasi's books. If so, I will always choose the audio version. These women are a dream team.

5 people found this helpful

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Open up A New World

The intersection of culture, racism, and faith claims are the key ingredients in this outstanding personal story, much of it autobiographically influenced. The faith claims and the clash with modernity are especailly well stated. The faith that collides with knowledge is specifically a very narrow American version of fundamentalistic pentecostal variety, common in the southern United States.

The gratuitous antipathy of this faith towards science as well as it's lack of real empathy towards human categories like trauma and addiction. The two categories have much interplay as trauma often causes addiction and addiction will inevitably deteriorate a life so much that it causes trauma to the victim and all who love them.

This narrow faith perspective brings a lack of awareness of cultural limitations that could otherwise make the faith more humble. Yet Yaa Gyasi tells the story without self righteousness, and even without dismissing the central substance of the faith, God himself, and even the redemptive message of Jesus Christ. She somehow does throw the baby out with the bathwater even as the lead character walks away from these tenets.

This is a rare combination of developed insights. It is executed as a story with depth and layers that will leave an indelible impression upon you. Yaa Gyasi is simply brilliant and the narration is very well done to make it a superb audible experience.

5 people found this helpful

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Good second novel, abrupt ending.

I was excited to dive into this book after experiencing the author's first novel, however I found myself underwhelmed, especially with the dramatic time jump it seems the book had at the end. It was just...abrupt. I don't know how else to put it. I listened to the book as an audiobook and I literally had to rewind the story because I thought my phone had made a mistake and skipped something with how abruptly it finished. The story itself painted a troubled woman grappling with her childhood faith and what it means for her as an adult who has chosen science as her life mission. It's quite relatable and the protagonist is fairly fleshed out. I guess I was just expecting a bit more after experiencing the first novel. I am still excited to see more from the author.

5 people found this helpful

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Boring

If an introduction to sociology class, a biology class, and a religion class got together it would be this book. Too many long and boring recitations from psych 101 type books about addiction. No character development of the mother or brother. No dynamism. Literature nothing really happens. Way too much “telling” and very little showing. Her first book was so good! This was a real disappointment.

3 people found this helpful

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Uninteresting

Expected an informative and personal story about an important issue: addiction. Instead tedious reporting without eventful story line; droning child like narration didn’t help

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Depressing

I kept waiting for the book to turn a corner. Never happened. Just depressing. Would not recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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what was the point?

I finished 25 chapters before accepting that I could not bear to hear another word of this endless, plotless, soliloquy. Pointlessly debriefing the Bible was the final straw. Very disappointing book by Yaa Gyasi. Don't waste your money.

1 person found this helpful