2016 . Fiction, Historical Fiction, History . Yaa Gyasi
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle's dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast's booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi's magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
Alfred A. Knopf
1101947136 (ISBN13: 9781101947135)
3 months ago
This Ghanaian-American writer’s first novel traces the lives in West Africa and America of seven generations of the descendants of two half sisters.
6 months ago
This book just didn’t do it for me. I really liked the beginning, but then the storylines kept jumping and I was struggling to keep track and I felt every time I got familiar with some characters or people it moved on the next generation and I never got to fully understand the depth of their stories. I found myself struggling to pick it back up!
6 months ago
This book is a must read. It transports one through history and in a very human forward way shows how racism towards the black community has moved from overt to covert. It made me extremely angry and sad. This quote really stayed with me: “They would just trade one type of shackles for another. Physical ones that wrapped around wrists and ankles for the invisible ones that wrapped around their mind”