Author: Yaa Gyasi
Pages: Ebook 260
Summary: A riveting kaleidoscopic debut novel and the beginning of a major career: Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, charting the course of two sisters torn apart in 18th century Africa through to the present day.
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising "half-caste" children who will be sent abroad to be educated in England before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the Empire. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, before being shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.
Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and—with outstanding economy and force—captures the intricacies of the troubled yet hopeful human spirit.
My Rating: 7.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: Wonderfully written, with a large cast of characters, this was a good read. The characters were well developed and had some powerful stories, as well as detailed backstories on how they were all connected. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it like others have.
The main issue I had with this book was that it felt more like interconnected short stories than a novel. Which would have been fine, if it were a short story collection, but because it was in a novel format I felt disconnected from the story. It moved viewpoints too much which caused the characters’ stories to be left unfinished with a lot of unanswered questions. While I did enjoy how the author gave pieces of information about certain characters, and how their lives were woven in with the other characters’ points of view throughout the book, something still felt off about how the story came together. While it was a powerful and memorable book, something was missing to pull the individual chapters together as one solid story.
The writing was wonderful. I hope to read the author again because of her writing style. Even when I felt parts slowed down, or chapters I didn’t like as much as others, I still enjoyed how the book was written. I also found she was able to capture each characters’ voice within each section, that was incredibly well done, and one of my favourite aspects of the book.
Overall, a good book and I will likely read the author again – it’s definitely a book worth reading.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, while it’s not a book I loved, it’s still an incredibly well written, powerful read.
What to read next: Daughters Who Walk this Path, The Book of Negroes, Things Fall Apart