Friday, June 16, 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing
by Yaa Gyasi
narrated by Dominic Hoffman

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Published: 2016
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Historican, Literary, African American
Hardback: 320
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
The night Effia Otcher was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through the woods just outside her father's compound.

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.


My two-bits:

From the 1800s to present, perspectives of both the African and African American experiences are portrayed through various characters.

Beautifully written with references to past histories, spirits and folk tales.


~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016, Winner of 2017 PEN Hemingway award for debut fiction.

* part of Tournament of Books 2017 (here)

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