Homegoing

Homegoing

Paperback - 2016
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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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781101947135
1101947136
Characteristics: 305 pages : genealogical table ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Home going

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Featured Blogs and Events

Adult Book Club: HomeGoing

In July, we will be discussing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of two sisters and their descendants through several generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. (more)


From Library Staff

This novel tells the story of two half-sisters born to the same mother in eighteenth-century Ghana and how their lineage is impacted by slavery between then and now. Effia, despised by her stepmom, lives a privileged life after marrying a white man, while her half-sister Esi is sold into slavery.... Read More »

Historical Fiction Short List

Winner of the John Leonard Prize for outstanding first book


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a
anomelie
Jun 23, 2018

My review looks like 4 1/2 stars, but its supposed to be 5. This book is perfect. I listened to the audiobook version of this. The narrator is one of the best I’ve ever heard— he captures all the different accents, moods, etc. And the stories are brilliant. So much history that never gets talked about in our country! A really beautiful depiction following a lineage across time. I can’t recommend this enough. It should be required reading in all the high schools.

d
DebraRieger
May 17, 2018

This title was chosen for the 2018 Seattle Reads book. The fictional work follows the lineage of two families from early African Tribal life, through the devastation of the slave trade, and onto current day. Each character/time frame is pretty much self-contained, almost separate stories. I loved the characters and the realistic feel of the settings. Although I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this on my own, I'm glad I did. It is well written and worth reading. There is violence and explicit content.

SPPL_Kristen Mar 22, 2018

My only complaint is that I didn't get to spend even more time with these characters

p
peachmcd
Mar 17, 2018

So grateful for this book! The art with which Gyasi unfolds the stories of two sisters separated and formed by the slave trade, and of their descendants, is such that the reader is focused entirely on the very human subjects of her art. If I were a high school teacher in the US, I would want this to be required reading for every student. 'Black history' is EVERYONE'S history. Until we learn these lessons, we will never be whole as a nation.

ylpladults Mar 06, 2018

Alternating chapters show the effects of slavery on both sides of the slave trade through generations: the African slave traders and those they sold into slavery. A strongly written, moving, no holds barred novel.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 14, 2018

A compelling, clear-eyed saga stretching over 200 years and from Ghana to the U.S. The African slave trade and its legacy and the worst and best of humanity.

r
redtayres
Feb 10, 2018

An enjoyable and interesting read, even if it continually jumps forward into different generations of the same family. Still, well written with a good dose of relatable history. I'd entertain another novel by this author.

l
lindsayjboyd
Jan 22, 2018

GREAT book. I liked the concept of moving from generation to generation - it gives a history lesson without ever feeling like it. Only problem is I kept getting so attached to the characters and then it would move on to the next, leaving me wondering what happened to them.

l
Lindylou1776
Jan 12, 2018

Just when I really cared about a character and their situation, the author moved on to a descendant. I was frustrated because I wanted to know more. More fully developed, each of the characters could have been their own short book.

CircMary Jan 12, 2018

This book started my new year of reading off with a bang. The parallel stories of the two families was engaging throughout. It left me wishing we could learn the whole life story of each and every character.

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s
shayshortt
Oct 06, 2017

You are not your mother’s first daughter. There was one before you. And in my village we have a saying about separated sisters. They are like a woman and her reflection, doomed to stay on opposite sides of the pond.

c
cknightkc
Jan 10, 2017

“History is Storytelling… This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others. Those who were there in the olden days, they told stories to the children so that the children would know, so that the children could tell stories to their children. And so on, and so on. But now we come upon the problem of conflicting stories… Whose story do we believe? 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.” - pages 225 & 226

c
cknightkc
Jan 10, 2017

"Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves." - page 38

r
rebmartin31
Jun 02, 2016

"'Shorter hours, better ventilation, those are things that you should be fighting for.'
[...]
'More money’s what we should be fighting for.'
[...]
'Money’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But mining can be a whole lot safer than what it is. Lives are worth fighting for too.'"

"'When a white man ever listened to a black man?'"

Summary

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s
shayshortt
Oct 06, 2017

Effia and Esi are half-sisters who have never met. First divided by their mother’s secrets, they will soon be divided by an ocean when Esi is sold into slavery and shipped across the Atlantic. Effia remains in Ghana, sold in marriage by her step-mother to the British governor of the Cape Coast Castle, where slaves are held in cramped dungeons before being loaded onto ships bound for America. In present day America, Marjorie wrestles with her identity as a Ghanaian immigrant to the United States, while Marcus struggles to complete his PhD knowing that many young black men of his generation are dead or in jail, and that only chance has kept him from the same fate. In a sweeping family saga, Yaa Gyasi follows the sisters’ bloodlines over hundreds of years, one child from each generation, tracing the impact of colonialism and slavery across the centuries, between Ghana and America.

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