Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, a deeply intimate, layered novel

    Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She is studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction in order to answer the central question “Are we going to be OK?” Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose and her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

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