I am finding it difficult to write a review of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi that will do it justice. This book is unlike anything I have read before and I imagine (or at least hope) that it will become required reading.
Gyasi takes us on a journey of centuries, from the Cape Coast of Africa to the coal mines of Alabama to the streets of Harlem all the while telling a captivating story of the power of history and the truth of slavery and its continued impacts. Each chapter tells the story of a different person and they interconnect back to two half-sisters separated early on, their lives and the lives of their ancestors ebbing and flowing across Africa and America.
Gyasi’s writing is precise, her imagery poignant and the themes of fire and water coming up again and again in the characters lives. From the NYT book review “At its best, the novel makes us experience the horrors of slavery on an intimate, personal level; by its conclusion, the characters’ tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight.”
Other reviews have criticized Gyasi’s ability to adeptly handle the content and characters and mention her young age (26). However, I was fully immersed in this story and if this is where she starts, I can only imagine what stories she has in store for us and I look forward to reading whatever she publishes next.