Thursday, November 17, 2016

Homegoing

Homegoing


I loved this book! Yaa Gyasi is a Ghanian-born and American-raised woman with an undeniable skill in story-telling. Homegoing is her debut novel.

Homegoing is a sweeping family saga starting in the mid-18th century Africa and ending in the modern day United States. It follows the lives and fates through eight successive generations of two half-sisters, in alternating chapters between the two threads. The half-sisters, Esi and Efffia were unknown to each other. Effia was married off to an Englishman and stayed in Ghana. Esi was captured in a Gold Coast slave round-up and shipped off to the United States. 

The author has created what amounts to linked short stories for the characters in each generation, snapshot-type stories that are historically synched and brutally honest. Some of these unforgettable characters were themselves involved in the slave trade. Some abandoned their own children. With glimpses of despair, evil and joy throughout, the reader experiences both a sense of inevitability and a sense of possibility. 

This novel will be compared to Alex Haley's Roots and Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes. We should read them all.