A restless young woman growing up in Germany with Ghanaian parents feels caught between two worlds.
‘Meditative, gestural, philosophic: a brave reinvention of the immigrant narrative … Unprecedented’ –Taiye Selasi
THE GOD CHILD
by Nana Oforiatta Ayim
Bloomsbury, November 2019
(via Marianne Gunn O’Connor Literary)
Maya grows up in Germany knowing that her parents are different: from one another, and from the rest of the world. Her reserved, studious father is distant; and her beautiful, volatile mother is a whirlwind, with a penchant for lavish shopping sprees and a mesmerising power for spinning stories of the family’s former glory – of what was had, and what was lost.
And then Kojo arrives one Christmas, like an annunciation: Maya’s cousin, and her mother’s godson. Kojo has a way with words – a way of talking about Ghana, and empire, and what happens when a country’s treasures are spirited away by colonialists. For the first time, Maya has someone who can help her understand why exile has made her parents the way they are. But then Maya and Kojo are separated, shuttled off to school in England, where they come face to face with the maddening rituals of Empire.
Returning to Ghana as a young woman, Maya is reunited with her powerful but increasingly troubled cousin. Her homecoming will set off an exorcism of their family and country’s strangest, darkest demons. It is in this destruction’s wake that Maya realises her own purpose: to tell the story of her mother, her cousin, their land and their loss, on her own terms, in her own voice.
Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a Ghanaian writer, art historian and filmmaker. She is founder of the ANO Institute of Arts & Knowledge, through which she has pioneered a pan-African Cultural Encyclopaedia. Recently appointed a TORCH Global South Visiting Fellow to Oxford University, she is also the recipient of the 2015 Art & Technology Award from LACMA; of the 2016 AIR Award; and of the inaugural 2018 Soros Arts Fellowship. She is a contributor to the 2019 New Daughters of Africa anthology and in February 2019 delivered a TED Talk. Ayim will curate the Ghana’s first pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019. THE GOD CHILD is her first novel. She lives in Ghana.