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Homegoing

by Yaa Gyasi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,6852492,087 (4.26)504
"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 504 mentions

English (239)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (249)
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
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  eshaundo | Jan 7, 2023 |
I don't really have words. Normally I have trouble following books with so many characters because I am Dumb but the characters were all so memorable that I didn't have trouble with it, despite how many there were. It was just really, really good. I don't have anything insightful to say. The end. ( )
  ninagl | Jan 7, 2023 |
I won't even attempt to review this, because what can you say about a book like this? This is pretty close to a five star read, but not quite there for me. Mostly because of the lack of emotional impact, which is due to the fact that there are fourteen life stories within 300 pages, and sometimes 300 pages isn't enough for me to form an attachment to a single character, let alone multiple.

I really loved the writing here, and I feel like the author masterfully conveyed what she set out to do. Gyasi is definitely someone whose future works I'll be interested in reading. ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
Right off, in the beginning, I have to be open and honest with my readers. I was really excited about this book before it came out. I heard so many things about it from people who got an advanced copy that I was hyped for this book. Well, that sounds strange as it is about slavery, but I am guessing most understand what I mean. One of my main passions is understanding race/race relations. I have been waiting for this book for that reason. I even pre-ordered it months before it came out on Amazon.

Now I have read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and I have to write- if you care anything about race, telling the story of slavery, great writing, or anything like that, this book needs to be on your shelf.

Homegoing begins with two stories of half sisters from Ghanna- Effia and Esi. Effia winds up married to a British slave trader, while Esi winds up as one of his slaves, yet they do not know the other is present in the same castle. Each is presented with a precious black stone before they leave their respective villages and face their futures.

From that point on, each chapter alternates with the descendants of each of these women. Each chapter looks at significant times in their descendants' lives. Effie's son Quey's story, for example, begins when he is older and is asked to return to his mother's village. The problem is he is now of mixed race, so there are some ramifications to his identity in the world- he is neither English nor from Ghanna. Ness' story on the other hand, the daughter of Esi, is more of a tragic story because she is a slave woman's illegitimate daughter. She is property rather than of privilege. She is a slave who picks cotton in Alabama. Her life is very different from Quey's.

The incredible part of Gyasi's stories are they are not straightforward and don't necessarily go where one thinks they are headed. There are heartbreaking stories, there are romance stories, there are stories about identity, and many other deeper topics. One family does struggle a bit because of where they begin life, but that doesn't mean the other family has it any easier. The problems are just different.

What I really enjoyed about seeing how the generations progress is how some of the great grandchildren have elements of their great grandmother. Some say similar things for example or have a way about them that just reminds the reader of a previous story. It isn't overtly done though and that is what is fun. There isn't a character who comes up and states something to the effect of- "That is just like what your grandmother used to do." That would be too easy. Gyasi allows to reader to pick up certain things because you, as reader, know each person's history.

This book could have easily fallen flat, but I am so grateful that it didn't. This isn't just a good book to talk about race, identity, history, etc, but it is also great writing and storytelling too. Even though the reader only gets a glimpse of a character's life, one feels comfortable and knows that person.

The book isn't necessarily the feel good story though and a few times I had to put the book down because I couldn't take what I just read, but it is an important book. I read The Underground Railroad right next to this one and I am telling you that will be a great companion piece to this book, when it comes out. This was an ambitious and risky book and it really paid off. Gyasi weaves the stories so well together that they stand on their own, but savvy readers will pick up little hints on ancestry. Seriously, get this book.

This was a 5 star book!
( )
  Nerdyrev1 | Nov 23, 2022 |
This book starts with the story of two half sisters, Effia and Esi, who did not know each other, from different tribes in Ghana in the 18th century. One becomes privileged and the other sold as a slave. It continues in alternating chapters, describing the life of one child of each generation of the descendants of Effia and Esi, up to year 2000. I was amazed by the author's ability to cover hundreds of years in such a succinct manner. The book contains running threads of relevant themes such as the far-reaching adverse impact of slavery, roles of women, belief systems, storytelling, family relationships, and cultural heritage. It feels like a collection of vignettes, with each character getting just enough coverage to enable a reader to understand how each is linked to the past. As a tip, keep referring to the genealogy chart to keep the lineage of the characters straight. I recommend this book to anyone. It is well-written, thought-provoking, and contains important topics influencing our world today. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 239 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yaa Gyasiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hoffman, DominicNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bastia, ValeriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burton, NathanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damour, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grube, AnetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoekmeijer, NicoletteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravnhid, Louise ArdenfeltTranslatorsecondary 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
First words
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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"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"--

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Book description
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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