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Quotes from Ghana Must Go

Kweku, the father, observes an African child:

The child was smiling brightly, possessed of that brand of indomitable cheerfulness Kweku had only seen in children living in poverty near the equator: an instinct to laugh at the world as they found it, to find things to laugh at, to know where to look. Excitement at nothing and at everything, inextinguishable. Inexplicable under the circumstances. Amusement with the circumstances.

His young daughter, observing her father at his lowest point:

She was frightened for reasons she couldn’t explain by a sense beyond reason but clear all the same: that something was about to go horribly wrong if it hadn’t already, that something had changed….The fact of her father here slumped in the moonlight meant something was possible that she hadn’t perceived: that he was vulnerable. And if he was—that solid wooden father—then that she was, they all were, and worse, might not know.

For a time she continued as the Dutiful Daughter accumulating successes and talking about them:

She spun the tale lightly and loosely as always, a story told well about somebody else, without detail or heat, “I did this,” “I did that”, with great flair but no feeling, no truth past the facts—and he listened intently, the azure eyes burning with knowing that nothing was being revealed, that the facts were a coat with the truth there beneath it, bare skin to be revealed at some other time.

Fola, the wife and mother remembering her own father’s sudden death that mirrored her husband’s desertion:

Incredible, unbearable, interminable openness appearing around her, above her, beyond her, a gaping, inside her, a hole, or a mouth: unfamiliar, wet, hollow and hungry. Un-appeasable.

The time in Fola’s life when she was “the native of a generic War-Torn Nation:”

It wasn’t Lagos she longed for, the splendor, the sensational, the sense of being wealthy—but the sense of self surrendered to the senselessness of history…. If one could die identityless, estranged from all context, then one could live estranged from all context as well.

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