Selasi takes on an ambitious goal in her debut novel, Ghana Must Go: to tell a cohesive story about a fractured Ghanaian family from the various (and often different) perspectives of each family member. The novel opens with the patriarch, Kweku Sai, slowly dying in his beloved garden in Ghana. The reader quickly learns that many years ago—in a time that seems like a lifetime ago—Kweku was a successful surgeon in the United States with a picture perfect nuclear family—a wife, a first-born son, fraternal twins, and a last born daughter. But that idyllic life soon comes to an end, when his career is jeopardized and Kweku makes the choice to spare his family from his professional and financial adversity by leaving them. What follows are years of intricately weaved events, pulled from each of the Sai’s lives, that tell the stories of their well-intentioned strides to not only survive, but excel as model immigrants, despite having the fabric of their family unraveled by their absent father.
In telling the complex life stories of each of the Sais, the novel occasionally gets bogged down in detailed prose about issues not central to the plot, which can be distracting. And, as often happens when an author tries to tell the perspectives of various characters, there are times when the novel does not reveal enough about the Sais to fully understand each of their motivations. Notwithstanding these quibbles, the fact of the matter is Ghana Must Go has received heaps of praise from critics and readers alike, and I’d be hard pressed to say that it’s not well deserved. The novel is a richly textured and beautifully layered exploration into the indelible complexities faced by modern African families with ties to the Diaspora and the Continent.