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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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Joy on 12-07-17
An important story but terribly disjointed
Sometimes this story had a wonderful poetic flow.Especially in the beginning with the characters in Africa.My problem with this story was it's overall flow from one character to the next as well as from one continent to another not to mention from one generation to the next. As I think about how this overall flow was so disjointed, I realize that the whole story needed some serious editing and rewriting to get this story to flow better. This could have been an excellent story with more character development and even a more in-depth look at the history of the cultures could have really tied this story together.
I stuck with this story but by the last two hours of this book I was ready to toss in the towel and might have returned the book earlier on if I had not purchased it in a two for one sale.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Daryl on 06-19-16
A Novel in Stories
I really did enjoy this book. It is two families' journey, spanning of more than 200 years, from Africa to America, with paths diverging and converging. Some descendants felt hardship, others felt privilege, some both wrapped up in each other.
The strength of this book is that it moves along over such a long period, with the families really not connecting too much to be unbelievable. But its weakness is also its many characters, so much so that it was hard to keep the strands of the families separate and to actually get to know some of the characters' motivations themselves.
The narrator was a good choice, though sometimes flat in places; perhaps this book was a bit too wide-sweeping for him (my opinion). Maybe a second narrator might have been better, to read the female characters, or the passages taking place in Ghana, or some other way to complement his solid narration of the coalmine settings or the deep south.
Well worth your time and credit.
28 of 35 people found this review helpful