Homegoing was the first book pick in my #Buyonebookamonthchallenge run on Twitter. I read this book from January through April and it was a ride.
It was a pretty interesting and educating read albeit sad. My first foray into books about colonialism from the perspective of other African countries and I loved it. It didn’t end the way I expected but I want to believe that was part of the author’s plan, leaving us dissatisfied and a bit confused.
The story tells of two separated sisters, Effia and Esi born of a slave woman who grow up in different conditions, Effia was a wife to a white slave master and Esi sold into slavery. The story spans seven generations down to the 21st century lived by the offspring of these women. We meet different characters, we love them based on their experience but we see how powerless they are in the face of slavery and their predicaments.
This is a story about being black and African, about slavery, its effect on Africans. I finally get to understand to some extent what went on in the era of colonialism despite it being a work of fiction. To think this is Yaa Gyasi’s debut (first) book, it’s so deep and mature a book.
The story concludes when the 7th generation of both women eventually meet and I must say it was an anti-climatic scene for me.
Homegoing as the name implies is a book that talks about family legacy, history, slavery and finding home. The themes expressed include feminism, the women in this book were strong, which was seen in their tone, their activities. We also see religion, rape, the effect of the slave trade on the Ghanaians as well as their relationship with each other. Language too!! The language was such a strong theme in this book, loss of language symbolized a total loss of identity, persons were made to stop speaking their language to prevent communication amongst the slaves.
Homegoing made me understand the existence of the friction between Black Americans and Africans, the existence of the classism between these sects, which I must say was quite sad to see.
There exists a curse in the family line of Effia and Esi which affects them as the story continues. The narratives I loved a lot were that of Ness and Sam, Kojo, H and Yaw, their experience from the Goldcoast to the Plantations of Mississippi from the American Civil War to the Mines and Jazz Age Harlem.
Effia’s line stays back in Ghana while Esi’s line ends up in America. We see the misrepresentation of Africa in America, the effect of Racism, the laws guiding blacks abroad, the fight to total freedom in the White man’s land, the sense of loss from their motherland and the fight to return home or rather the lack of will to return home because was it exactly home when you never lived there?
We also experience love, betrayals, hate, drug abuse and so much more, Homegoing encompasses all.
A beautiful, well thought out and researched story. You should read it!
To get a copy, visit Roving Heights and place an order, definitely worth your while.
Here are some bookmarks from Homegoing