It is undeniable that «Homegoing» must be included in school literature program! Yaa Gyasi created the most emotional novel. It all started with two half sisters, Effia and Esi, in XVIII century Ghana and then followed generation after generation until our days, and saw the true power of family, of the past, of history.
I would not be lying if I said that I’ve never read anything more beautiful, heart-wracking and touching. She was able to grip my heart and shatter it times and times again, as every new generation went through a series of struggles, poised by the historical settings at that particular time.
Yaa Gyasi has a very beautiful, lyrical voice that made me tear up on multiple occasions.
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.
At first we read the story about Effia, a girl from Ghana village who became wife of an English man from the Cold Coast Castle. What she didn’t know was that while she was living a comfortable life, her brothers and sisters, her nation was being sold to the foreign countries. They were held in dungeons beneath the castle, starving to death, dying from illnesses and finally the survivors were sent to America and Caribbeans to spend their life in slavery.
One of those slaves was Esi, Effia’s half sister.
From that moment on, we followed Effia’s and Esi’s descendants, one family living in Ghana, another living in America. Different destinies, different fates but the slavery and slave trade affected both generation trees.
We saw how tribes in Ghana stood up and fought against the foreign domination. We saw how slavery was abolished in America, but never to its fullest. How difficult it was for a black man and woman to live in a society that believed them inferior.
From all the books that I read about slavery and racism, this one left the biggest impression. It made me want to know and learn more. It made me want to research if the facts presented in books corresponded to actual historical facts, and most of them did!
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin for the ARC of this books. It was first published in 2016 and I am so happy I got a chance to read it! I will definitely buying a copy for myself for Xmas!