A Quest to Understand Suffering in Yaa Gyasi’s Novel 'Transcendent Kingdom'

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Novelist Yaa Gyasi (Peter Hurley/Vilcek Foundation)

Following her critically-acclaimed debut novel "Homegoing," novelist Yaa Gyasi returns with “Transcendent Kingdom.” The story follows Gifty, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University. After losing her brother to a heroin overdose and while caring for her suicidal mother, she is determined to find a scientific reason for suffering. But even as Gifty embarks on her scientific quest, she finds herself longing for the faith of her childhood to help reckon with her family’s pain. Like Gyasi, the character Gifty comes from an immigrant family from Ghana and grew up in an evangelical household in Alabama. We'll talk to Gyasi, who spent time in California as an undergraduate at Stanford, about the book and the desire to understand human pain and suffering.


Yaa Gyasi, author, "Transcendent Kingdom" and "Homegoing"