Ghana: Homegoing Review

Title: Homegoing
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb: The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Me: This book had 84 holds on it at my public library. Now I understand why. 

The Ups: This is perhaps the most ambitious piece of work that I have read so far this year. Gyasi tells the story of two sisters who were separated at birth, and their lineages over 300 years of time, giving us a character per chapter. The overall effect is one of the deep entrenchment of slavery's legacy in history and our lives today. 

With the big picture being more important than individual characters, or plot, it would have been very easy for this novel to fall flat. But despite it being her debut, Gyasi is such a talented writer that it makes the transitions seamless. The opening scenes of each chapter (and character) are engrossing and immediately paint a completely new world from the chapter before it. Looking back, it is mind-boggling how she so expertly dealt with such a huge task. 

Speaking of, every character was a masterpiece. Starting with Effia and Esi, all the way to Marjorie and Marcus, each one (and there are 12 in total) bloomed out of the page and came to life around me. In the unfamiliar worlds of pre-colonial Ghana and America at the beginning of the slave trade, the characters and their stories were deeply educational, allowing me to visualize foreign worlds. Even in the possibly more familiar settings of the 1960s Civil Rights movement or the Jim Crow South, Gyasi brings to light moments of history that were often untold. (I especially loved Winnie's story.)

This book manages to subtly work in issues of criminalization, LGBTQ+ issues, the specific concerns of black women, and the lines that separate the African-American story from 300 years ago to the African immigrant story today. 

The Downs: The only down I can find is that I could have read an entire book about any of these characters. They were so fully developed, and it left me wanting more every time. But I guess the bittersweetness is the beauty. 

Overall: To sum it up, this book accomplishes everything it has set out to do. It deserves all the hype it has received, and has never been more relevant than today. What a gorgeous, stunning work.

"He wanted to capture...the feeling of time, of having been a part something that stretched so far back, was so impossibly large, that it was easy to forget that she, and he, and everyone else, existed in it—not apart from it, but inside it.” 

"But she wasn't just staring into space; she was listening to all the sounds the world had to offer, to all the people who had inhabited those spaces the others could not see. She was wandering."

Rating: Beat My Scale!


  1. Wow this looks amazing!! So something I would be interested in and OMG that storyline! I gotta give this a go!

  2. 84 holds at the library!? I hope the momentum for this book keeps going and that it becomes a huge success. Glad you loved it :D