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Homegoing (2016)

by Yaa Gyasi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,0461763,085 (4.23)363
"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"--… (more)
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» See also 363 mentions

English (170)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  Latvian (1)  French (1)  All languages (176)
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
For me, this debut novel is without a doubt worth a recommendation. While its sprawling nature and largely unremarkable writing might make it fall flat for some readers, it presented an interesting, captivating story for me. Of course, this book isn’t worthy of a Nobel prize in literature, but that is an overly pretentious expectation for a writer. This book has its special pull for me, even if that didn’t come from the plot itself, but from my expectations and a collection of great characters.

As a whole, I enjoyed the depth, the unique structure of this book gave its characters, especially the strand of the family that remained in Ghana. And I enjoyed the look into Ghanaian history, that gave me the appetite to look into it more. The same unfortunately can’t be said for the view into US history. Though it certainly offers a unique perspective of slavery founded in the loss of family history, that is stark in contrast to the other strand of the family.

more on https://chwiggys-world.de/2020/07/15/gyasiyaa-homegoing/ ( )
  chwiggy | Jul 15, 2020 |
Like a 21st century version of Roots, Gyasi traces the history of one family from western Africa, through years of slavery and then oppression in America. Along the way, Gyasi's lyrical writing perfectly catches the essence of each generation's struggle. From a slaver's dungeon, to an Alabama coal mine, to a Harlem neighborhood, we're left to decide for ourselves what defines the idea of home. ( )
  PeggyDean | Jul 9, 2020 |
This novel spans 300 years and examines two branches of a Ghanaian family, one who remains in Ghana and one who ends up in America. Effia and Esi are two half sisters who have never met and who live on opposite sides of the country. Effia is forced to marry a slave captain and lives fairly comfortably in Cape Coast Castle, where slaves are housed in filth and squalor in the dungeons below. Esi is one of those slaves and is eventually shipped to America and sold there. The book follows their offspring through several generations and is a series of standalone chapters set during different times. Even though the chapters can stand on their own, they are also part of the larger narrative.

Each story could be it's own book because you want to know more about each and every character. The connecting stories cover everything from the slave trade and British colonization in Ghana to Southern plantations, convict labor camps, and Harlem dope houses. The author did a wonderful job of showing the legacy of slavery and how it affects the descendants, even through multiple generations.

The characters are stunning and their stories emotional. It's both powerful and thought provoking. This is the debut novel of a gifted writer and I highly recommend it. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
I have lots of things to say, but no keyboard. This was a great debut novel, it covered such a spectrum of issues. It was fantastic, and i'll remember it and its incredibly successful execution for a long time.

I won't cover what the blurb (or Coates's praise does) , it's just plain good, thought-provoking, and engaging. ( )
  samnreader | Jun 27, 2020 |
incredible. the amount of research and care and pain and joy contained in this book is unfathomable, i can't even begin to imagine how yaa gyasi managed this endeavour. ( )
  piquareste | Jun 20, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yaa Gyasiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoffman, DominicNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Abusua te sε kwaε: sε wo wɔ akyire a wo hunu sε εbom; sε wo bεn ho a na wo hunu sε nnua no bia sisi ne baabi nko.

The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense: if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.

—AKAN PROVERB
Dedication
For my parents and for my brothers
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The night Effia Otcher was born into the musky heat of Fanteland, a fire raged through the woods just outside her father's compound.
Quotations
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.
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amazon ca :A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, 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.

Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
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