Yaa Gyasi – Homegoing

So its been five months since my last review! Please forgive me, I’ve  been having a few issues occur which have distracted me and I’ve defintely let life race ahead of me! But now I’m reclaiming my time! So lets get into this very special book review….

A good friend of mine recommended this book a while back and in all honesty it was one of the best recommendations this year! Written by Yaa Gyasi Homegoing explores the journey of Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate echo through the generations that follow. Gyasi takes the reader through multiple journeys, mirroring the journeys our protagonists venture through. From the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem,  Homegoing spans three continents and numerous generations, delving into issues like identity, religion, sexuality, the loss of cultural heritage, mental health and the stigma attached which is still hugely evident even today.

Each one of us who read this book will draw from it what they wish from it – from the residue of slavery to the plight of African Americans disconnected from their ancestry to the impact of generational misfortune. Yet for me this novel touched upon my own family ties to Ghana. Not only was I captivated by the interwoven stories of two half sisters and their bloodlines but Gyasi spoke to my history; the history of Ghana, the undeniable and unforgettable experience and memory of the transatlantic slave trade. History or historical accounts are predominately written by those who have the power. We are well aware that those who have the power, control the narrative. Yet through Homegoing Gyasi has given a voice and a platform for the suppressed, for Esi who took the journey through the point of no return, for H in prison for supposedly looking at a white woman and through these voices Gyasi shines a light on issues we are often too shy or timid to face. Issues which still affect us today.

As a first generation Ghanaian living in Britain and acutely aware that there are many unknowns within my own family history, I have never felt more connected to my country and heritage than I did when reading this book. Gyasi tells the story of slavery beautifully and with such emotion. Don’t get me wrong however, although slavery and its effects are the undercurrent throughout this book it is not necessarily the main focus. Homegoing is a sincere portrayal of family life; of the beautiful  but sometimes cruel combination of history and humanity. It is a truly immersive story which I hope you will enjoy! Overall I give this book 10/10!

 

Happy Reading!

A

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