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Homegoing (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Fully realized characters spanning eight generations paint a deeply human portrait of history. Gyasi explores how we comprehend who we are to our family, our community, our past, and our future. The reader understands from the beginning that a family heritage will intertwine: there is a family tree on the first pages. The surprises lie in the things - both tiny and monumental - that alter the course of the lives portrayed.

Beginning with the stories of half-sisters born into different tribes in Ghana in the 1800s, the reader witnesses how power and fear have driven much of history through to the present day. Inter-tribal conflict, the slave trade, migration, racism, wealth disparity, and hate co-exists with caring, connection joy, and love. Each chapter is dedicated to one member of the family and much wisdom is expressed in their voices:

"The need to call this thing 'good' and this thing 'bad.' this thing 'white' and this thing 'black,' was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else."

And five generations later:
"She said it had something to do with forgiveness, but Yaw wasn't certain that he believed in forgiveness.... But the older he got, the better he understood. Forgiveness was an act done after the fact, a piece of the bad deed’s future. And, if you point people's eye to the future, they might not see what is being done to hurt them in the present."

This novel is a powerful story of cultural evolution and an important reminder that our personal choices matter.

— From Liza's Picks

June 2016 Indie Next List

“Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.”
— Nichole McCown (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA


Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016

"Homegoing is an inspiration." --Ta-Nehisi Coates

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

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.

About the Author

YAA GYASI was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she held a Dean's Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101947135
ISBN-10: 1101947136
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English