Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing

This début novel really knocked my socks off. The novel is composed of interlocking stories of two branches of a shared family tree. Two half-siblings are born on the Gold Coast of Africa in the 1700s; one child and her descendants will remain in Africa (for the most part), while the other child is enslaved and sent to North America. The chapters alternate between strands of the family tree as the generations march forward, children becoming parents, lives blossoming or curdling, as personal journeys inevitably crash into the historical forces around them.

The book challenges the reader to consider about the durability and mystery of family ties, as well as the concepts of inherited trauma and institutional racism. The author deftly shows how certain themes, symbols, and objects echo through the generations and across family lines, as the novel is firmly grounded in a sense of place. All of the characters look back to the same place of origin; they live and die under the same sun, they cool themselves in the same waters.

Read earlier reviews of Homegoing on the summer reading blog.

Availability: USMAI, COSMOS, SMCM
Review Submitted by:  Michael Dunn
Rating:  Highly Recommended
Challenge: A book from the 2017 Tournament of Books

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