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Homegoing

by Yaa Gyasi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,8752242,427 (4.25)452
"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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English (214)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Danish (1)  Latvian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
I strongly preferred Transcendent Kingdom. In Homegoing, each time you start getting to know a character, you're whisked forward to the next character. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Oct 15, 2021 |
“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
Today people are very interested in learning about their ancestors and relatives. HOMECOMING is the type of story that most would like to learn about: where they came from, what their ancestors were like and what their lives were like.
Yaa Gyasi’s HOMEGOING tell the story of the three hundred year history of one family tree, the branches leading very different directions..
The family story begins in Ghana in the 1700s. Maame, the matriarch, had two daughters with two different fathers. The girls, Effia and Esi, were raised separately and didn’t know about each other. One grew up in Ghana and married an Englishman of means. The other ended up in America, as a slave. At one point, they lived in the same house, one whose English husband was involved in the slave trade. The other was imprisoned there awaiting shipment to America as a slave.
The book opens with a chart tracing the family tree, which is very helpful. Each chapter is focused on one person, alternating between the Effia’s and Esi’s branches and features important events in that person’s life.
The Effia’s family story describes life in Africa especially the effects of British colonialism and tribal warfare. After the Ghanian natives were able to own property, the crops failed. One member of the family solved their problem by introducing cocoa pods as a crop. Esi’s story describes the lives of slaves in the US, the Civil War, moving to the North, and Harlem. Families adjust to societal changes, both within the family and the culture as well. Some people make it, others are lost, either by choice or circumstances.
Yaa Gyasi is a member of the family.
HOMEGOING is a story of survival, humanity, inhumanity, and change. ( )
1 vote Judiex | Oct 5, 2021 |
From the very start this book had me reeled in. Gyasi tells a tale that spans generations, starting with sisters born on the Gold Cost of Africa, now known as Ghana. The sister's,though having the same mother, never know each other. Effi grows up to be married off to one of the British Slave Traders and Esi becomes a slave and ends up in the American South.

The book is broken down into sections, where the story is told, alternating families, by the next generation. For a book that is barely 300 hundred pages long, it packs a lot of history, covering tribal warfare, slave traders, the American south and the great migration after the Civil War.

This was a 5 star read for me, until the very last*Heavy Sigh*-Did it deserve a cut of one full star because of stupid, stupid endingyep! Other's may not think so, but I spent all afternoon mulling it over-4 stars it is
( )
1 vote JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
I really really wanted to enjoy this book, especially since it was based around a genealogical family tree and I love genealogy!! Sadly however, I found the chapters to be disjointed. Just a whole lot of stories being told down the decades and centuries but not a lot holding them together.

To be honest, this is nothing but a collection of short stories.

When I compare this novel to a James Michener novel, there is no continuity between the chapters. Mainly because each chapter pretty much happened to a different person from the last chapter and also in a different location from the last chapter. In a James Michener novel, the family may have grown down through the centuries, but they did at least stay in one place which gave me some continuity!!

And as much as I love genealogy, the constant switching back and forth between the two lines of descent, was also offputting. At the start of every chapter, I had to refer back to the family tree to pick up the storyline for that family.

I think for me, this story might have flowed better if all the stories from one family had been placed together in a part one and all the stories from the second family in a part 2 - and the part 3 would be when the last 2 descendents from each side met up. I can't be sure of this, but I think if the story had been written that way, I MIGHT have gained more continuity and thus more enjoyment. .

Investing in the characters - that's the phrase I am looking for .

With each new chapter we get a new character and usually a new location. We are unable to invest our emotions into just one character or one place - which is what I need to give me continuity!!

By the time I got to part 2 (after the US Civil War) I had lost interest in this book, because there was no continuity. I stopped looking back at the family tree. I no longer cared who was who. I chose to keep reading just to see how this ends. It took me 3 days!!!

And even in the end Marcus and Marjorie, who are 7th cousins if the family tree is accurate, meet up and both go back to visit Ghana. But then that story ends. There is no finale. Just the end of the last short story.

I really wish I could have liked this book. The actual writing style itself was great. It is the alternating chapters and the lack of closure for each person that I did not like.

I read this for the BYL 2021 Challenge.

Edited to add - That's what I was missing!! The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. I loved that book because it is all about ONE person. So different from Homegoing which was about too many characters and no real continuity between them. In this review, I compared Homegoing to James Michener. I should have compared it to The Book of Negroes. ( )
  Robloz | Sep 23, 2021 |
This novel was heart-wrenching and beautifully written. ( )
  katethegreat44 | Sep 21, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (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
Burton, NathanCover designersecondary 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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"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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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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