A provocative debut novel about a marriage in crisis that asks the question: Can you ever be rooted in a home that’s on the brink of collapse?
“Beautiful, gripping, and tender . . . a powerful and unforgettable meditation on love, belonging, and motherhood.”—Emilia Hart, author of Weyward
On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s £1,300 missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?”
When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the UK from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parents’ expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame.
When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.
Rootless is a heartrending love story about motherhood and sacrifice, providing an intimate look at what happens after a marriage collapses, leading two people to rediscover what they ultimately want—and if it’s still each other. As Efe says, “Love and regret aren’t mutually exclusive.”
About the Author
Krystle Zara Appiah is a British-Ghanaian writer, editor, and screenwriter, born and raised in London. She has a degree in literature and creative writing from the University of Kent. She was one of forty writers selected for the London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme. Rootless is her debut novel.
“A beautiful, gripping, and tender novel . . . Efe and Sam felt heartbreakingly real—I was utterly invested in their relationship, from heady teenage courtship to the challenges of parenthood. Vividly set in London and Accra, Rootless is a powerful and unforgettable meditation on love, belonging, and motherhood.”—Emilia Hart, author of Weyward
“The unswerving exploration of marriage, parenthood, and identity in Rootless is brave, insightful, and heartbreaking. . . . A moving debut novel.”—Rachel Edwards, author of Lucky
“One mark of a great novel is the emotions its characters elicit within us. Rootless is a character-driven narrative which, from page one, welcomes you in, leads you to your seat, and buckles you in for the journey. Sam and Efe are the epitome of messy, infuriating, and lovable, their romance constantly driving them apart and pulling them back together. They war. They repent. They fly their mistakes like flags. That is the beauty of Appiah’s work—humanity is on display on every single page. Rootless is a beautifully honest exploration of the complexities of motherhood, marriage, family, and love. It is a novel not to be missed!”—Onyi Nwabineli, author of Someday, Maybe
“This exploration of love, loss, and motherhood is tender, powerful, and almost unbearably moving.”—Louise O’Neill, author of Idol
“Rootless is a deeply felt novel about the making, unmaking, and remaking of self, family, and home. Krystle Zara Appiah writes with tenderness and grace of her characters’ attempts at being seen and loved for who they are rather than who others may wish them to be. Full of romance as well as terrible grief, Rootless enthralled me from the start.”—Ilana Masad, author of All My Mother’s Lovers
“Rootless lays bare the pain of motherhood in ways we rarely allow ourselves to face. Efe’s tragic story will stay with readers long after they finish turning pages, as Appiah makes us think about motherhood, womanhood, and marriage in ways we don’t often discuss.”—Donna Freitas, author of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano
“Wow, wow, wow! My jaw is on the floor and my heart is in my throat. Rootless is a beautiful, emotional rollercoaster. I want everyone to read it.”—Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, author of Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?
“Heart-wrenching . . . While Appiah’s debut is harrowing and terribly sad, readers will empathize with Efe as she searches for hope in spite of her burdens.”—Booklist
“An expansive and rich saga of a British Ghanaian woman balancing familial expectations with her own desires . . . This cosmopolitan work will speak to readers.”—Publishers Weekly