Yaa Gyasi’s first masterpiece, Homegoing, was an epic that spanned seven generations. Her second masterpiece is a close-up. Transcendent Kingdom is about twenty-eight-year-old Gifty, who is trying to finish her doctorate in neuroscience at Stanford when her mother is pulled into her second severe depression and travels from Huntsville, Alabama (where Gifty grew up), to stay with her daughter. It’s about the big stuff: faith, science, family, death, purpose, heartbreak, hope. You might keep it together for a while. And then weep toward the end—not really because of any particular plot event but because Gyasi’s writing has a way of making you bare, of breaking you open.
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