Homegoing Book Review

“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”  — Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing.

Homegoing traces a single bloodline across seven generations, beginning in eighteenth-century Ghana and ending three hundred years later. This epic family saga follows two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, who are born into different villages and never know one another. One of them marries into privilege, the other is sold into slavery. The enslavement of Africans was not just a crime committed by white men, but was abetted by other Africans.

The novel is effectively written in alternating narratives. One thread 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, Homegoing is gorgeous. Gyasi wrote unforgettable characters into this epic novel of horror and beauty. Homegoing is well-researched, gut-wrenching, and beautifully told. A fabulous debut novel.

Published Date: June 2016
Genre: Historical fiction
Read-alikes: A Shout in the Ruins by Kevin Powers, Roots by Alex Haley, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Reading and tagged , , , , .