9 Succulent Literary Books Like The Transcendent Realm



transcendent realm is one of those rare books that talks about so many things, and yet fits together perfectly. Yaa Gyasi addresses science, faith, work, addiction, grief, complicated family relationships, immigration experiences, race, black youth and femininity, and more. It’s a richly layered novel, full of seemingly endless stories, and it’s also intensely focused and full of breathless interiority.

The protagonist, Gifty, is working on her doctorate in neuroscience, struggling with her relationship to faith, mourning the death of her brother from a drug overdose, and trying to sort out her difficult relationship with her mother. I read it when it came out in 2020, and I still think about it often. It’s a book that sticks to your skin. If you too are a big fan of Yaa Gyasi and looking for more books like transcendent realm to read while waiting for what she decides to publish next, it is an excellent starting point.

I chose novels that deal with various elements of what transcendent realm struggles with. You’ll find books on science and work, books on faith, books on complicated mother-daughter relationships, books on addiction, and books on immigrant families.

One thing (among many others) that emerges from transcendent realm is the quality of the prose, which is demanding and precise, yet feels easy to read. Gifty’s voice is unique; I can still hear it echoing in my head. So I chose books like transcendent realm this way too. Many of these novels are also deeply internal. They feature close-up viewpoints that will immerse you deep into the tumultuous inner lives of their protagonists.

After his transcendent debut (pun obviously intended) Back home, it was hard to imagine how anything Gyasi wrote next could measure up. But with transcendent realm, she has proven to have remarkable reach. I can’t wait to read what she writes next, which I’m sure will be something completely different. In the meantime, here are nine books like transcendent realm to help us out everywhere.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Real life matches transcendent realm for its intensity, its protagonist in academia, its exploration of science, and its beautiful and complicated portrayal of grief. Wallace is a black doctoral student at a small university in the Midwest. Over the course of a summer weekend, and after recently learning of his father’s death, he finds himself in a variety of romantic and non-romantic entanglements that change his outlook on life, academia, and himself. -same. Taylor’s prose is absolutely stunning.

Blanket of Greenland

Greenland by David Santos Donaldson

OK, I admit it: there isn’t a theme, exactly, that links this book to transcendent realm, though they both grapple with ambition, race, being black in America, and immigration. But they are definitely emotionally and intellectually similar. They are both about protagonists who want something very badly (in the case of Greenland‘s protagonist, Kip, is to publish a novel). They both feel they have something to prove. And they both go through a lot of trauma while chasing their respective dreams.

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The Arsonists by RO Kwon

Gifty struggles with questions of faith in transcendent realm, just like the characters in this novel. Will left his evangelical Christian faith behind, having just transferred from a religious college to a liberal arts college. He soon falls in love with the charismatic Phoebe, but becomes increasingly concerned as she slowly becomes entangled with a fundamentalist cult. Through Will and Phoebe, Kwon explores the truths that shape our lives and the catastrophic consequences of clinging too tightly to what we think we know.

Cover of Big Girl

Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

At first glance, this novel has little to do with transcendent realm – it’s a coming-of-age novel about a fat black girl in 1980s and 1990s Harlem. But if you fancy another book that takes you deep into a point of view, this is your book. Malaya’s voice is singular and Sullivan never strays from her internal (and external) struggles. It’s an intense, almost breathless read that, while heartbreaking at times, is ultimately full of joy.

cover of Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel

Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel

If you’re looking for more books that focus on strained mother-child relationships, as well as books that explore first- and second-generation immigration experiences, can I recommend this perfect novel? Akash is an American Indian gay man whose life is not going his way. When he returns to his childhood home, a year after his father’s death, to help his mother tidy up the house, they are both forced to come to terms with the damages, sorrows and truths of their past to the first time in a long time.

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In the field of Rachel Pastan

Check this out if you’re looking for more books about women in science, and in particular about the extremely intelligent, driven, and capable women determined to prove themselves in fields riddled with sexism, racism, and abuse. homophobia. This historical novel is loosely based on the life of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Barbara McClintock. Kate Croft arrives at Cornell in 1920 ready to embark on a career in science, but she is thwarted at every turn by men who are intimidated by how much smarter she is than them. It’s infuriating — making it very hard to stop reading!

Cover of It Could Be Different

This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews

I don’t know why there aren’t more books on the job. Many of us spend much of our lives working, and yet it’s rare to find fiction that truly addresses the emotional realities of it. transcendent realm does, as does this jaw-dropping novel about Sneha, a queer Indian woman struggling to live, love, earn money and make sense in the midst of a recession. It’s lively and generous, funny and scathing, heartbreaking and true. I have never read a book that so beautifully and honestly captures what it is like to live on this planet, in the United States, in capitalism, right now.

Chemistry cover

Chemistry by Weike Wang

This is another fantastic novel about women in science. The narrator is a Chinese American who is earning her doctorate in chemistry. Her boyfriend has just proposed and her parents are thrilled that she is about to graduate. His life, from the outside, seems perfect. But she’s not quite sure what she wants, and having to respond to her boyfriend’s proposal is the last straw. On the surface, it’s quirky and sometimes even funny, but underneath, it’s a novel with bite.

the cover of Blue-Skinned Gods

Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu

One of the central themes of transcendent realm is Gifty’s faith and how the loss of faith affects her life. This book is about what happens when the world you thought you belonged to, the world you believed in, crumbles before your eyes, and how difficult it is to build a new world from the rubble. Kalki grew up in an ashram in rural India, considered by his parents and his community as an incarnation of Vishnu. As he gets older, he slowly begins to see himself differently, and the consequences of this change change his life forever.

Looking for more books like transcendent realm? Discover our personalized book recommendation service, Tailored Book Recommendations! Our expert bibliologists (meaning professional book enthusiasts) can help you find similar reading for just about anything, whether it’s books like transcendent realmthe Murderbot series, that dragon fantasy you fell in love with when you were 17, or something completely different.

Our librarians use their many years of book knowledge (and thousands of pages read) to offer you recommendations for books you may not have heard of, but absolutely need in your life.

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