Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016
“Homegoing is an inspiration.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates
The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This astonishing epic confronts the heinous legacy of slavery and reminds us that the #blacklivesmatter rallying cry is so painfully necessary. Yaa Gyasi sets her debut in Ghana—the country she left as a young child—and her adopted home country of the United States, following two branches of a family with roots in both the Asante and Fante tribes. We can’t remember the last time we were so wrapped up in a novel. What astonished us most was Gyasi’s ability to ground the arc of history in profoundly personal, emotional stories.
Gyasi's amazing debut offers an unforgettable, page-turning look at the histories of Ghana and America, as the author traces a single bloodline across seven generations, beginning with Ghanaian half-sisters Effia, who is married off to a British colonizer in the 1760s, and Esi, who is captured into the British slave-trading system around the same time. These women never meet, never know of each other's existence, yet in alternating narratives we see their respective families swell through the eyes of slaves, wanderers, union leaders, teachers, heroin addicts, and more these often feel like linked short stories, with each descendent receiving his or her own chapter. Esi's descendants find themselves on the other side of the Atlantic, toiling on plantations in the American South before escaping to the North for freedom, while Effia's offspring become intertwined in the Gold Coast slave trade, until her grandson breaks away and disappears to live a simple existence with his true love. In both America and Ghana, prosperity rises and falls from parent to child, love comes and goes, and the characters' trust of white men wavers. These story elements purposely echo like ghosts as history often repeats itself yet Gyasi writes each narrative with remarkable freshness and subtlety. A marvelous novel.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I wanted to like this novel based on great reviews. It kept skipping generations and going back that I got lost and forgot who was who. This was boring. I stopped reading before half of the book. Just not for me.
Many thanks to Yaa Gyasi for crafting such an amazing piece of work.
This author has a lot of potential , but I found this novel boring. Chapters skipped generations and then skipped backwards generations. It was difficult to follow the characters. Plot?? Not sure there was one . Historical references read like they came from Wikipedia.