The first part of this book is astonishing. She reminded me of William Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury by how she tells the story of a family, hiding more than showing, guiding you in a dark room, where you need to acclimate you eyes to the obscurity to start to see and you need to accommodate to the silence to start to hear. You should step in her writing as in one installation of James Turrell. Walking blind inside the light. Not knowing where it comes. Acclimating to the coldness. Accommodating to the emptiness.
Also, she reminded me of Don DeLillo because of the sense of the rhythm, the stops, the ending, the death, the cadence, the ellipsis, the phrases wich are not phrases, just words. But it works. And reminded me Body Artist of how she moves inside the private feelings of a grief.
Moreover, she reminded me of Lawrence Durrell in The Alexandria Quartet for how she shows the characters on their own mind and on the others´s ones. Changing the point of view to show you how incomplete, so often wrong, is the perception of the others, the perception of ourselves. And how this perception is in permanent mutation, as we are.
And without being exhaustive with this list of pleasant memories, she reminded me of Philip Roth for his sense of humour, Zadie Smith for her creativity, the open mind of A.M.Homes, and the magic realism who only people connected to earth can manage and made it believable.
This fascinating mix of influences and resemblances is developed in a wonderful novel, Ghana Must Go, written with extremely careful and delicacy. Taiye Selasi is a writer to follow closely.
Here, be an African immigrant is a condition of the story but not the main issue. The main issue is how to be part of a family here and now. When”now” the family are immigrant and “here” is moving. As DeLillo did in White Noise, for an American family in 1985, she does in 2013 for an African immigrant family.
With the members struggling to be better than his ancestors, to be better themselves, not being sure of what means to be better, not sure when they are failing. Learning of be proud of his grandfather who lived in a self made shack, learning of be proud of his father who raised there. Learning the most difficult thing for an immigrant, -“We are immigrants. Immigrants leave”- learning to stay. To stay together.
Absolutely a must read. Taiye Selasi is going to stay.
Taiye Selasi was selected in Granta Best Young British Novelists 2013
Ghana Must go