“An unflinching portrayal of the slave trade explores its impact down the generations, from 18th-century west Africa to the modern-day US. It is well worth its weight.”
Featured in The Guardian’s Best Fiction Books of 2017.
A heart-stopping and powerfully emotional tale that spans three centuries and two countries, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi has all the makings of the Great American Novel. The language is breathtaking, the sorrow merciless and the beauty soaring. It paints a remarkable portrait of the powers that direct the lives of entire families and decides the shape of nations and in doing, so it announces the arrival of a powerful voice in the field of contemporary fiction.
Homegoing follows two half-sisters, Esi and Effia who are born in two different villages in Ghana during the eighteenth century. Married to an Englishman, Effia lives a sumptuous life in the luxury of the Cape Coast Castle. What she doesn’t know is that Esi, her half-sister, is imprisoned in the dungeons below the castle to be sold along with thousands of others into slavery thanks to the Gold Coast’s slave trade. She is transported to America and has children and later grandchildren who grow up as slaves.
Effia’s descendants and their stories make up part of the novel as they deal with centuries-old warfare, with the Asante and Fante nations battling colonization by the British as well as the slave trade. The other part of the novel is about Esi’s descendants in America who have to deal with the Civil War and its aftermath, the Great Migration, working in coal mines in Alabama and the dope houses and jazz clubs in Harlem during the 20th century leading up to the current times. In Homegoing, history grabs you by the throat and showcases how the memories of captivity mark the soul of the country.