Two half-sisters in Ghana living in the 1700s are separated by a continent, when one is married off to a British commander and the other is sold into slavery. Gyasi tells the story of their descendants, one generation at a time, in Ghana and the United States. While I’ve read a number of books about the legacy of slavery, Homegoing’s take on African involvement is a different perspective, showing how tribes were prodded into warfare, manipulated by the Europeans. For an episodic novel with a different protagonist in each chapter, it’s surprising how connected I became to the characters, but such is Gyasi’s skill as a novelist. And yes, it all comes together at the end.
— Daniel Goldin
June 2016 Indie Next List
“Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.”
— Nichole McCown (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, Time, Oprah.com, Harper's Bazaar, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Esquire, Elle, Paste, Entertainment Weekly, the Skimm, Minneapolis Star Tribune, BuzzFeed
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.
Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi's extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed--and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
About the Author
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she held a Dean's Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in New York City.