Friday, August 26, 2016

Homegoing; Yaa Gyasi

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.

4.5/5 stars
(eGalley)

16 comments:

  1. I started this and really must get back to it! The book was fine. I just haven't been reading. :(

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    1. Kailana, this is a book you should wait to read when your slump is over. I know it would have been a tough read for me if I was in a slump.

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    1. I wonder how the audio is? I hope you'll enjoy it.

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  3. I tried to track this and have failed!! Still trying to locate this book here.

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    1. That's too bad. got it through Edelweiss but, it's no longer available.

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  4. I hope to read this soon. I love that the sisters lives are so different and want to know the whole story.

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    1. I like parallel stories as well. Hope you'll like this one.

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  5. Diane, this also sounds like a book I'd really enjoy. I haven't read many (any?) books set in Ghana. Wonderful review!

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    1. Really a wonderful story - so interesting and different for me.

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  6. Impressive review and it sounds really interesting!

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  7. Sounds fantastic--and so glad the writing is good! On my list!

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  8. I was impressed by this book. Here is a link to my review: http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2016/08/homegoing.html

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  9. Diane, I'm ready for some literary fiction, so this is going on my list for this fall. I wonder if it's good on audio...

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