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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi


by Yaa Gyasi

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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
This novel is an astoundingly memorable read! Within its 300 pages the reader sees and experiences a progression of nine generations, no, more like 18 generations! Let me explain. There are two branches to the common ancestor, Maame, and, thru her skillful technique, the author is able to see-saw between two families and two continents while keeping the reader attuned to where they are in time and space. Ghana, North America, colonization, slave trade, jazz clubs, tribal warfare. Whichever way you tag it, this beautiful and sometimes ugly story is truly amazing ( )
1 vote Carmenere | Mar 6, 2017 |
Centuries ago in Africa, two girls were born of the same mother. Their lives took different paths. One girl, Effia, became the African wife of a slave trader. The other girl, Esi, became a slave and traveled the Middle Passage to the American colonies. The descendants of these women carry the story forward in alternating chapters until their lines converge several generations later.

This book is more a collection of linked short stories rather than a conventional novel. Readers will expect suffering in the stories of Esi's descendants who endured first slavery and then Jim Crow. The suffering of Effia's African descendants may come as a surprise, if only because this history is likely less familiar territory to many readers. This is a strong debut for a young author, and it is well-deserving of its accolades. ( )
  cbl_tn | Feb 25, 2017 |
Wonderfully written, with a large cast of characters, this was a good read. The characters were well developed and had some powerful stories, as well as detailed backstories on how they were all connected. While I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it like others have.

The main issue I had with this book was that it felt more like interconnected short stories than a novel. Which would have been fine, if it were a short story collection, but because it was in a novel format I felt disconnected from the story. It moved viewpoints too much which caused the characters’ stories to be left unfinished with a lot of unanswered questions. While I did enjoy how the author gave pieces of information about certain characters, and how their lives were woven in with the other characters’ points of view throughout the book, something still felt off about how the story came together. While it was a powerful and memorable book, something was missing to pull the individual chapters together as one solid story.

The writing was wonderful. I hope to read the author again because of her writing style. Even when I felt parts slowed down, or chapters I didn’t like as much as others, I still enjoyed how the book was written. I also found she was able to capture each characters’ voice within each section, that was incredibly well done, and one of my favourite aspects of the book.

Overall, a good book and I will likely read the author again – it’s definitely a book worth reading.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Homegoing ( )
  bookwormjules | Feb 25, 2017 |
Really good. Factor in that this is the debut novel of a 26 year old and it approaches greatness.

Each 'chapter' of this book focuses on a snapshot of the life of a descendent of one of two branches of an African family tree. The roots of the tree start with two half-sisters born to the same mother. The girls never meet, are raised by different women and have different fates--one becomes a slave, the other the wife of a slaver. From there, the branches of the tree and the lives of their descendants diverge over generations.

It's structured like a series of short stories that are interconnected, with each slice of a life about 20 pages or so. You get a critical 'scene' or 'period' in a life with each indirectly paving the way for descendants yet to come.

Although it's fiction and it spans 300+ years, the writing is resonant and vibrant. It made the horror of slavery and its influence and enduring impact more real (and sorrowful) to me, but it's also serves as an ode to ancestors and to Africa.

Highly recommended. ( )
  angiestahl | Feb 15, 2017 |
I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Unpopular opinion time. I've had several friends recommend this book to me saying that it blew them away, but I have to admit I struggled with the format.

Homegoing tells an important story but I wasn't able to completely immerse myself into the story because of the format in which it is told. Each chapter is in itself a brief short story, a small snapshot from each generation, but it was too disjointed for me as a whole.

I got rather lost and frustrated. I had a problem keeping track of the characters and I had to keep referring to my notes. Each chapter is devoted to one character per generation, following two generations. The chapters are only around twenty'ish pages long so I didn't get to spend much time with the characters and as a result, I didn't get to know them in the way I would have liked to, or needed to. There wasn't time to get to know them on an emotional level or to be able to fully relate to their struggles and experiences. The story was in a constant state of change. This started to really annoy me, I was forever having to remind myself which family line I was on and which generation of that family line the character descended from. I found myself consistently being pulled out of the story with every new chapter.

I'm a character reader, I need to connect and feel for the characters and in this instance, because of the format, they weren't detailed or in depth enough for me to be able to do that. ( )
  Scarlet-Aingeal | Feb 6, 2017 |
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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
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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