Thursday, August 11, 2016

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Unknown to one another, two half sisters grow up on the Gold Coast of 18th century Ghana, connected only by the identical black stones their mother leaves for them, a memory of her.

Effia, the beauty of her Fante village, is married to a British soldier and quickly transported to the Cape Coast Castle and a life of relative comfort. In the dungeons of the same castle, her sister Esi languishes, kidnapped from her Asante home and sold into slavery, awaiting the ship that will transport her to America.

What follows is a sweeping story that stretches across seven generations and two continents, following the descendants of Effia and Esi from British colonialism and the wars in Ghana, through the harrowing reality of American slavery and its aftermath, to the Great Migration and the streets of Harlem, up through the modern day.

Each vignette is visceral and real - Gyaasi’s gift with prose is evident in every page, and even more remarkable for a debut novel. Brimming with heartbreak and sorrow, joy and hope, Homegoing weaves a history that is complex and intricate, and not nearly finished. A really stunning read - perfect not just for those that appreciate history and family sagas, but anyone that appreciates a well told, evocative story.

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