#REVIEW: Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi

This is going to be kind of a difficult post to write, because Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom is not like most of what I read, and it’s messing with my ability to talk about it in a coherent sense. Y’all know me by now; I prefer plot-driven books, and my enjoyment of a book is more often focused on what happens in the book rather than concerns about theme and character and highfalutin literary stuff. But this book is enormously character-driven. You know everything that’s going to “happen” in the book within the first few pages (and, to complicate things, I don’t really want to reveal any of it) and there are no big twists or plot reveals; it’s all about listening to Gifty, the main character, tell you about her life.

But, God, it’s beautiful, and I read it cover-to-cover between around 6:00 yesterday evening and 11:00 this morning, and I woke up this morning knowing that I wasn’t doing anything until I’d finished it. Transcendent Kingdom is about grief, and loss, and neuroscience, and addiction, and family, and it’s about being a Ghanaian immigrant in America when America isn’t always a good place to be. It’s also about Christianity and atheism in a way that got straight past all of my filters; in a weird way this book made me wish I were more religious, and that is not a thing that happens, like, ever.

And I really think that’s all I’m telling you, other than to also point out that this is another one of those “this book is amazing as a physical artifact” types of books as well; definitely get it in hardback. I’ve read 24 books so far in 2021 and I’ve read several that I really enjoyed but this is the first one that has ended with me feeling absolutely certain it will be on my end-of-year list. Grab it up, and while you’re at it pick up Gyasi’s Homegoing from a couple of years ago as well.

Last few hours of the fundraiser!

You have until midnight tonight Eastern time to donate if you like; if we’re not at $350 by the time I go to bed I’ll toss in a few more bucks to get us to that point, since we’re close. Last chance!


RAICES fundraiser update

I just donated another $188.36 to the fundraiser– $183.36 was my (way lower than I wanted) take from the con last weekend and another $5 because one of my books mysteriously got reviewed this week. That puts us at $311 raised out of the initial $500 goal, with today, tomorrow and Friday left to go. So far, I owe three people signed books for donating $25 or more– and if you’re one of those three people, sit tight, I’ll be collecting addresses and finding out what books everyone wants once the fundraiser is over.

Remember, even if you don’t want to donate directly, any money I make from book sales this week will be donated, and I’ll throw another $5 on top for every review one of my books gets, regardless of what they actually say. There’s $189 to go to hit the goal and every dollar counts! Thank you!


Reminder: RAICES fundraiser still going!

I’ll be making my second donation tomorrow, probably, with the (slimmer than I wanted) proceeds from InConJunction this weekend, but that’s only going to get us about halfway to the goal. You have until Friday to chip in– any amount counts!


IT’S MY BIRTHDAY: Donate to @raicestexas!

We are already almost 20% of the way to our goal, and the fund raiser officially starts today! Go donate to RAICES while I’m on my way to Indianapolis! Remember, in addition to any donations from my readers, here is how this will work:

  • I will donate the entire proceeds of every book I sell at InConJunction this weekend, from July 5-7. Every last dime. 
  • Through midnight on the 12th, I will donate my entire share of any books I sell on Amazon. 
  • You are obviously welcome to do direct cash donations through the donation link. That said: anyone who donates more than $25 through the link should email me and let me know, because I will send you a signed book of your choice, depending on my stock levels after the con is over.  Click will be eligible for this, so if you want a print copy and don’t want to use Patreon, this is a way to get a copy.
  • If you happen to decide to review one of my books this week, email me.

I’ll be making my next donation on Monday or Tuesday depending on how many credit card sales I make this weekend and how long all that takes to clear. If you were thinking about participating, today’s the day. Donate!


RAICES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

Founded in 1986 as the Refugee Aid Project by community activists in South Texas, RAICES has grown to be the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. With offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, RAICES is a frontline organization in the roiling debate about immigration and immigrants in the world. As an organization that combines expertise developed from the daily practice of immigration law with a deep commitment to advocacy, RAICES is unique among immigration organizations. A diverse staff of 130 attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff provide consultations, direct legal services, representation, assistance and advocacy to communities in Texas and to clients after they leave the state. In 2017, RAICES staff closed 51,000 cases at no cost to the client. Our advocacy and commitment to change are driven by the clients and families we serve every day as our attorneys and legal assistants provide legal advocacy and representation in an immigration system that breaks apart families and leaves millions without pathways to legal status.