Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
Published by Viking, 5th January 2017
Genre: Historical fiction
Format: Hardback
Source: Borrowed (library)

Trigger warnings: slavery, violence, substance abuse


Effia and Esi are sisters, but they have never met. Born in Ghana, on Africa’s Gold Coast, they are destined for very different futures. One will be sold into slavery and journey to America. The other will become the wife of a white man, a slave trader. The consequences of these very different fates will be felt through the generations to come. This is their story and the story of those who came after them.

My thoughts

I am so glad that this book lived up to the hype! It has been showing up everywhere and I have been reading such positive reviews, so I’m really pleased that I loved it too. I really admire Gyasi’s writing style, in this her debut novel. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any more books from her in the future.

In particular, I loved the way the story was told, throughout the generations. This is such an interesting way of portraying one family’s history, and how the fate of each individual was shaped both by their ancestors, but also by the country and the situation in which they found themselves. From the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton fields of the American South, to missionary schools in Ghana and the vibrant neighbourhoods of Harlem, this is truly an epic generational tale. And I loved it!

This is a beautifully written book and I loved all of the different voices. Each chapter focuses on a certain individual and their personality was immediately captured in the way they were written, in the way they spoke. Gyasi also writes very eloquently about families and the terrible difficulties of separation and distance. This is a very moving and thought-provoking book.

This also ties in to my 2021 Reading Women Challenge, for prompt number 3: a book about incarceration.

My rating: 4/5

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