Homegoing

Homegoing

Book - 2016
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"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 colonial, 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, and then 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's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2016
ISBN: 9781101947135
1101947136
Branch Call Number: FICTION GYASI 2016
Characteristics: 305 pages : genealogical table ; 24 cm

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April 2017 – First Meeting!

At the first meeting of the Black Authors Book Group the brilliant novel Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi was discussed. Be sure to join the group next month to discuss Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Homegoing Americanah (more)


From Library Staff

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CircMary Jan 12, 2018

This book started my new year of reading off with a bang. The parallel stories of the two families was engaging throughout. It left me wishing we could learn the whole life story of each and every character.

List - Literary Fiction
alaude Jul 24, 2017

From different villages in 18th-century Ghana, half-sisters Effia and Esi lead very different lives, with Effia married off to an Englishman and living comfortably in Cape Coast Castle and Esi imprisoned in that very castle before being sold into slavery in America.

APRIL 2017


From the critics


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SPPL_Kristen Mar 22, 2018

My only complaint is that I didn't get to spend even more time with these characters

p
peachmcd
Mar 17, 2018

So grateful for this book! The art with which Gyasi unfolds the stories of two sisters separated and formed by the slave trade, and of their descendants, is such that the reader is focused entirely on the very human subjects of her art. If I were a high school teacher in the US, I would want this to be required reading for every student. 'Black history' is EVERYONE'S history. Until we learn these lessons, we will never be whole as a nation.

ylpladults Mar 06, 2018

Alternating chapters show the effects of slavery on both sides of the slave trade through generations: the African slave traders and those they sold into slavery. A strongly written, moving, no holds barred novel.

AL_ANNAL Feb 14, 2018

A compelling, clear-eyed saga stretching over 200 years and from Ghana to the U.S. The African slave trade and its legacy and the worst and best of humanity.

r
redtayres
Feb 10, 2018

An enjoyable and interesting read, even if it continually jumps forward into different generations of the same family. Still, well written with a good dose of relatable history. I'd entertain another novel by this author.

l
lindsayjboyd
Jan 22, 2018

GREAT book. I liked the concept of moving from generation to generation - it gives a history lesson without ever feeling like it. Only problem is I kept getting so attached to the characters and then it would move on to the next, leaving me wondering what happened to them.

l
Lindylou1776
Jan 12, 2018

Just when I really cared about a character and their situation, the author moved on to a descendant. I was frustrated because I wanted to know more. More fully developed, each of the characters could have been their own short book.

CircMary Jan 12, 2018

This book started my new year of reading off with a bang. The parallel stories of the two families was engaging throughout. It left me wishing we could learn the whole life story of each and every character.

AL_ANDREW Dec 11, 2017

Well written and structured, Homegoing avoids the trap that usually turns me away from the "family saga" genre by only spending a single chapter on each family member.

a
anndubois1
Oct 23, 2017

A book to be read and reread. A remarkable tale of the slave trade from the perspective of the European slavers as well as the many tribes involved in the trade as both victims and perpetrators. The book moves through centuries and extended families on two continents and eight generations. Though the stories of individuals we are offered the epic tale of forced migration to America, the horror of slavery, the chaos following the Civil War and the movement northward for jobs and independence. At the same time we are following the generations through the development of Ghana from a tribal, warring, slave trading nation. Each chapter is a nugget of the broader story and an intimate peak into the lives of one or more of the participants. So much is beautifully captured in a mere 300 pages.

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s
shayshortt
Oct 06, 2017

You are not your mother’s first daughter. There was one before you. And in my village we have a saying about separated sisters. They are like a woman and her reflection, doomed to stay on opposite sides of the pond.

c
cknightkc
Jan 10, 2017

“History is Storytelling… This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on. But now we come upon the problem of conflicting stories… Whose story do we believe? We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.” - pages 225 & 226

c
cknightkc
Jan 10, 2017

"Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves." - page 38

r
rebmartin31
Jun 02, 2016

"'Shorter hours, better ventilation, those are things that you should be fighting for.'
[...]
'More money’s what we should be fighting for.'
[...]
'Money’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But mining can be a whole lot safer than what it is. Lives are worth fighting for too.'"

"'When a white man ever listened to a black man?'"

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s
shayshortt
Oct 06, 2017

Effia and Esi are half-sisters who have never met. First divided by their mother’s secrets, they will soon be divided by an ocean when Esi is sold into slavery and shipped across the Atlantic. Effia remains in Ghana, sold in marriage by her step-mother to the British governor of the Cape Coast Castle, where slaves are held in cramped dungeons before being loaded onto ships bound for America. In present day America, Marjorie wrestles with her identity as a Ghanaian immigrant to the United States, while Marcus struggles to complete his PhD knowing that many young black men of his generation are dead or in jail, and that only chance has kept him from the same fate. In a sweeping family saga, Yaa Gyasi follows the sisters’ bloodlines over hundreds of years, one child from each generation, tracing the impact of colonialism and slavery across the centuries, between Ghana and America.

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