A riveting, kaleidoscopic debut novel and the beginning of a major career: a novel about race, history, ancestry, love, and time that traces the descendants of two sisters torn apart in 18th-century Africa across 300 years in Ghana and America.
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.
Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to 20th-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's novel moves through histories and geographies and captures - with outstanding economy and force - the troubled spirit of our own nation. She has written a modern masterpiece.
"Gyasi's characters are so fully realized, so elegantly carved - very often I found myself longing to hear more. Craft is essential given the task Gyasi sets for herself - drawing not just a lineage of two sisters, but two related peoples. Gyasi is deeply concerned with the sin of selling humans on Africans, not Europeans. But she does not scold. She does not excuse. And she does not romanticize. The black Americans she follows are not overly virtuous victims. Sin comes in all forms, from selling people to abandoning children. I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration." (Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me)
"Homegoing is a remarkable feat - a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes, and fears. A tremendous debut." (Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment)
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A Novel in Stories
such an important story to hear
- Amanda Hartrich