Friday, September 23, 2016
Homegoing is Yaa Gyasi's debut novel and it is a powerful, unforgettable story. The book is told in alternating chapters, as we travel 250 years with Effia's family and Esi's descendants. Each story is brutal, but there is also an inescapable feeling of weight as generation after generation is the victim of hatred and abuse. Slavery has consequences for generations for both the enslaved and the countries and families they are ripped away from. Each chapter is rich with research, without that unfortunate feeling of info dumping that can happen in historical fiction.
The heart of Homegoing, of course, resides with the relationships. We see parents sacrifice for their children, a man searching for his pregnant wife, a son reuniting with his mother, and a young woman who feels torn between her grandmother and history in Ghana and her life in America. While it can occasionally be frustrating to leave behind characters you've come to care for, it's a testament to Gyasi's writing that you want to stay with them for a longer time. Each moment in time is carefully constructed and, taken altogether, this novel is a heartbreaking and beautiful testament to the legacy of both pain and love.
By Yaa Gyasi
Knopf June 2016
From the library