|Ghana Must Go|
by Taiye Selasi
The Penguin Press
March 5, 2013
$25.95 Hardcover/ $12.99 E-Book
As the book moves forward, the story of this complicated African-American family pieces itself together, almost like an unraveled sweater weaving itself back into shape. The perspective switches from person to person with each chapter, and the story is often told in a series of flashbacks that relate to and explain the present. Jessica Maria Tuccelli was successful with this particular narrative form in last year's Glow (and Barbara Hamby even more so in Lester Higata's 20th Century) but Selasi is somewhat less so.
The alternating of past and present is sometimes less than smooth and often a little confusing. And while her choice to tell the story from a variety of perspectives is an excellent way to reveal the fractured past, all of the characters seem to be of one voice - the author's. There is no coloring of the glass, as it were, no refocusing of the voice with the change of perspective.
That all said, the same story told from beginning to end in third-person omniscient would be frustratingly boring, so I can't fault Selasi for trying. Her prose is beautiful and her phrasing poetic. Frankly, Selasi's talents might be better-suited for poetry and verse than for novel-writing.