By Yaa Gyasi
Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. 305 pgs. Fiction
Covering three hundred years and seven generations, Homegoing follows the lineage of two sisters, both born in Ghana, but each destined for very different legacies.
Effia marries an English slaver and lives most of her life in relative ease and prosperity in a castle near the sea. Esi, her unknown half sister, is imprisoned in that same castle, then trafficked to America by means of the Gold Coast’s infamous slave trade. Both women will bear children and those children bear children as well, each new generation being molded by the captivity and struggles of the generation before.
This is a powerful and gripping novel for a variety of reasons. Gyasi writes with carefully descriptive prose building dynamic characters and nearly tangible settings that are difficult to forget. Each of the 14 stories, which only cover pivotal moments in the subjects’ lives, left me wanting more and hoping desperately that the next story, about the next generation, will be happier than the last. Readers will definitely want to recommend this to others because of its merits, but also so they can discuss it with someone!