I know that I haven’t been blogging much. I have been reading, however, and I’m excited to talk about Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I know I’m a bit late to the party about this one, but I’m so glad I finally showed up. This book is in the running to be my favorite of the year.
And what’s remarkable about it is that it’s a debut! Wow, does the literary world have a promising future with this author in it! The story follows a family line from eighteenth century Ghana through the descendants of two sisters, after one sister marries a white Englishman and the other is sold into American slavery. One of the central themes is displacement, and the reader gets to explore all the ways that disconnection from family and identity and place and memory impact individuals and communities. There are a few times when the author tries to bonk you over the head with these themes, but these times are rare in comparison to the subtle magic of most of the writing.
There’s so much to discuss. Hello, book clubs! This would be an interesting book to pair with another intergenerational family story (for example, Anne Korkeakivi's recent Shining Sea) or with a contemporary nonfiction book about race (like, Coates’ Between the World and Me).
If you are someone who has issues with reading scenes of violence, be aware that all the possible, imaginable kinds of violence against adults and children are here. This is a book whose heart is about slavery, and the author insists that you encounter it.