ARC Review: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi


As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.

Transcendent Kingdom is a searing story story of love, loss and redemption, and the myriad ways we try to rebuild our lives from the rubble of our collective pasts.


Transcendent Kingdom is a powerful and thought-provoking story which examines many difficult topics, including religion, race, drug addition, grief and depression.  It is poignant and deeply moving.  The author’s writing is beautiful and she certainly knows how to write a intensely moving story.  Preferring more uplifting stories this was somewhat out of my comfort zone, but I was taken completely by surprise and ended up completely absorbed in the story of Gifty’s life. The book is all about the characters, how they feel and their life.  It is well researched by the author and captivating and interesting, I learnt so much reading this book.  

Gifty is a young woman, who grew up in America after immigrating with her family from Ghana as a child.  Now a successful neuroscientist she studies reward-seeking behaviour in mice in connection with depression and addiction.  Her work is catalysed by her deep-rooted emotions following her brother’s death from a drug overdose and her mother’s constant fight with depression.  Although humanely described I have to say the experiments on the mice were not my favourite part of the book.  

Reflecting upon Gifty’s life the storyline jumps around from past to present, but remains easy to follow.  I enjoyed reading Gifty’s little journal snippets from the journal she kept as a child and her thought processes contained within.

Although this is not a genre I read very often, I really enjoyed this reading experience and I will be mulling over and thinking about this book for months to come. I have heard so much about Yaa Gyasi’s previous book, Homegoing, that I will definitely be reaching for it at some point.  I recommend Transcendent Kingdom if you enjoy Women’s Fiction and intense and deeply moving stories.

Publisher: Penguin General UK – Viking
Publication Date:  4 March 2021
Format:  eArc/eBook
Page Count:  267
Genre:  Women’s/Contemporary Fiction 
Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for the advanced copy of this book to review. 

I hope you enjoyed this review.  For my current reads, recommendations and anything else book related, please follow me on Instagram , Goodreads or Twitter

Please do not hesitate to comment below if you liked my review or have any comments about this book 😊 

Happy reading!


Twisted in Pages Blog

Published by twistedinpages

Reader • Reviewer • Blogger

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