Homegoing is a stunning novel on Black History spanning generations and centuries. It is a profoundly emotional novel where trauma, pain, loss and anger seep through the pages.
The book starts with Effia and moves on to Esi, with each chapter having different takes on the characters from the lineages of Effia and Esi. This fantastic writing style takes us from generations of hurt and slavery and of hope and dreams. Each character is written intimately, making readers feel like they are part of the characters’ lives. We see their struggles, what makes them ache and what makes them beam.
Most importantly, Yaa Gyasi tells the story of Africa through the pages of this book.
Yaa Gyasi, while writing, also shared thought-provoking gems:
“Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”
“We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you just always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer , yet still imperfect picture.”
“The white man’s god is just like the white man. He thinks he is the only god, just like the white man thinks he is the only man. But the only reason he is a god instead of Nyame or Chukwu or whoever is because we let him be. We do not fight him. We do not even question him. The white man told us he was the way, and we said yes, but when has the white man ever told us something was good and that thing was really good? They say you are an African witch, and so what? So what? Who told them what a witch was?”
There are so many gems like this sprinkled through the book. Homegoing is a powerful book that feels like a mirror to these times.
Should You Read?
If you want to learn about Black History, by all means, pick up this book, and you won’t regret it.