Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Five stars.
Heart-breaking. Conversation-starting. This is a book that can only be properly described by compounds.
Homegoing is Gyasi’s debut novel, it starts with a fire lit by an enslaved woman called Mamee. Little does Mamee know her fire will burn message across the ages long after her own death. Mamee gives birth to two children the night the fire is lit, daughters Esi and Effia. The two experience seemingly irreconcilable lives; Effia who hailed from humble beginnings is married to a white british slave owner in a castle where slaves are kept in the deepest depths of its dungeons, while Effia whom had known luxury in the Fante village is enslaved beneath in the castle’s belly racked by trauma, a terrible stench and the pain of her fellow prisoners. The story then unravels into a unbelievably intricate family tree of the two sisters as great great grandchildren tell of slavery, punishment, privilege, politics, identity, love and terrible visions of a mysterious daughters born from flames…
I so rarely close a book and actually can not stop thinking about it the whole of the next day and the day after that. Homegoing is one of those books, a book so very important and relevant to the world we live in. It’s a book that provides a resistance to fear, makes you deeply curious and instigates a flurry of what ifs that escape your tongue because they can’t all stay cooped up in your head any longer.
Read Homegoing for a unique breed of storytelling like you’ve never seen before and may never see again, richly researched and boldly imagined depictions of the Asante and Fante people, colonialism and the slave trade, love, hatred and what it means to be human when you are made to feel anything but. Have you read it yet?