Homegoing; Yaa Gyasi
Knopf - 2016
Effia and Esi are half-sisters born in different villages in 18th century Ghana. Their lives couldn't be more different. Effia is married off to an Englishman and she lives a comfortable life in Cape Coast Castle. Little does Effia know but, her half-sister Esi is imprisoned, along with other young girls in the dungeon of the castle where she lives. The conditions in the dungeon are horrendous as is the fate of these young girls. It is the height of the slave trade and, they are to be sold off as slaves and shipped to American where their lives will not be much better.
The story is told in separate threads that follow the descendants of these half-sisters. It's a story that covers some 300 years of history and two continents. Each chapter tells the experiences of a new family member and a particular point in time. There is a lineage chart to refer to which keeps the story easy to follow despite the 300 year period.
The writing is wonderful, the characters beautifully developed, each with a unique and distinct voice. The novel is well researched and yes, there is violence, heartbreak and loss throughout the generations. The novel almost felt like a series of interlinked short stories which were beautifully tied together and led to an extremely satisfying ending. Yaa Gyasi is definitely a debut novelist to watch for. This is a must read for literary fiction lovers.