Homegoing Hardcover – 5 Jan 2017
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Homegoing is a novel I wish I could have read when I was a young woman. An intelligent, beautiful and healing read, destined to become a classic (Zadie Smith)
Shows the unmistakable touch of a gifted writer (The New Yorker)
One of the richest, most rewarding reads of 2016 (Elle)
Homegoing is one hell of a book... I recommend Homegoing without reservation. Definitely a must read for 2016. (Roxane Gay)
I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration (Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award winning author of 'Between the World and Me')
Wildly ambitious debut by a 26-year-old writer . . . It's impossible not to admire the ambition and scope of Homegoing . . . By its conclusion, the characters' tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)
A marvellous novel (Starred Publishers Weekly)
The brilliance of this structure, in which we know more than the characters do about the fate of their parents and children, pays homage to the vast scope of slavery without losing sight of its private devastation . . . . [Toni Morrison's] influence is palpable in Gyasi's historicity and lyricism; she shares Morrison's uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slavery's moral and emotional fallout. What is uniquely Gyasi's is her ability to connect it so explicitly to the present day: No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country. (Vogue US)
Homegoing is a remarkable feat - a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes and fears. A tremendous debut (Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment)
[A] commanding debut . . . will stay with you long after you've finished reading. When people talk about all the things fiction can teach its readers, they're talking about books like this (Marie Claire)
From the Inside Flap
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fates reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to a cotton-picking plantation in Mississippi; from a village missionary school to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel - an intense, heartbreaking story of one family and through their lives the very story of America itself.
Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a novel about how history shapes us all. It is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.See all Product description
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Each chapter's like a short story about a different member of each generation of the same family, alternating between two sisters' (Esi's and Effia's) bloodlines. For example, the first chapter's about Esi, the second chapter's about Effia, the next two chapters are about their children, the two after that are about their grandchildren and so on. The family tree at the beginning of the book helps to visualise the context across eight different generations.
Each story's compelling in its own right and leaves you begging to know more about the character you're reading about and also what will happen to their progeny after them. I love that it tells so many different stories and yet at the same time, it's essentially one story about one family; one story about the Black Diaspora. I don't want to give anything away, because there are quite a few unexpected twists in the tale, but it alternates between stories about Ghanaian royalty, slavery and slavers across both sides of the Atlantic, the Ashanti-British war in Ghana, freed slaves and the South to North migration in America, missionaries in Ghana, even the coal mine/prison business after slavery ended in America. There are unique insights into commonly told stories such as life in 1960s Harlem and also lesser-known stories such as village life in Ghana.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story. You'll also appreciate it if you're even slightly interested in historical novels or any aspect of the current/past Black Diaspora. I learned more about Ghanaian history, African-American history and possible motivations of different players in both over time. I also gained an insight into the idea of how the actions of each person in a bloodline can affect the generations of their family to come. I feel like I'm both better informed and a more empathetic person for having read this book.
I think this was a very bold debut. And Gyasi mostly rises up to the challenge. I definitely liked the first half of the book more than the second half, the second half did get weighed down by some clichés. I loved some of the characters and their strengths, like the ethics of Quay and the stoicism of Willie. Some relationships are beautiful, particularly that of “mad” Akua and Marjorie. However, some character arches had more potential for development, like that of Sam and Ness. The element of mystery and authenticity was preserved in the way that Marcus and Marjorie never found out that they were related to each other, and that is probably true of so many descendants whose ancestors were nameless slaves once upon a time. The novel will remain a testimonial of the fact that freedom comes at a price and it must be valued and preserved.
The book has the haunting backdrop of slavery, one of the most shameful realities of America and Great Britain. The baggage is a very heavy one to carry; the weight is often borne by generations; also by the tormentor and the sufferer alike. As the stories progress between generations, there is not always a characteristic happier ending, symbolic of the fact that while we may have come a long way; there is a much longer path that lies ahead. Ironically, I finished this book on the day a biracial woman, a descendant of the Southern slaves, walked down the aisle in Windsor Castle to be married into the Royal Family of Great Britain.