Is it worth the hype? YES!
I came accross this book while I was watching one of Hajar’s videos from HajarRead. Apparently, it was a book that everybody was talking about but of course, I didn’t know that. And even after watching the video, I was thinking that I’d rather start reading the books on my TBR than go and buy a new book and add it again to the pile of books-that-I-should-be-reading-but-won’t-because-I’d-rather-buy-new-ones. Only it came at a time where I came out of work and since I was in the area, I decided I’d go to one of my favourite bookshops in Casablanca: Livremoi.
I couldn’t resist buying books and I will shamelessly admit that I’ve been captivated by the cover of the book (Edition Viking) at first and then I thought “Isn’t this that famous book? Doesn’t matter, I’m getting it for the cover!”. I hope this is no crime but as someone who’s been into design for quite some years, seeing a horrible cover makes me cringe even if the book itself is awesome (I’m watching you The Book Thief because what is that font anyways?, The Lux Series, The Infernal Devices…) and it just makes me wanna remake a cover and make my own edition. We’re not here to talk about ugly covers though, we’re here to talk about marvelous and genuine Homegoing. Quick presentation!
Published June 7th 2016 by Knopf
SYNOPSIS: Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
So, basically, it’s about the divergent stories of two families descended from half-sisters Effia and Esi born in the 18th-century, in Ghana. It traces a path from the slave trading world in Ghana back then to the United States. Now with all these family members, you may think you’d get confused but not at all. At one point I got so much into the story that I was thinking of myself as an actual character who was watching everything from afar and I’ve had given a face to each and every character. The way Yaa Gyasi introduces us to the characters makes you feel connected to them instantly!
I’m impressed this is a debut novel because, even though nothing is really perfect, her novel has reached the near perfection. The treatment these poor people had to live through, it’s heart wrenching frankly. I’ve never really thought so much about slavery. Yes, it was horrible but with this book, it’s like I’ve had a more real image of it. Something I was able to feel and see and that was only possible because of how Gyasi described everything so perfectly. Of course there wasn’t just slavery that she’s tackled but also rape, drugs, injustice, abuse… I’ve felt all kinds of emotions going from anger to joy to frustration to disgust thanks to the details that came with each story and that doesn’t happen so very often as I am hardly ever moved by anything (Am I a drone? Good question!). The book clearly states that the colonization Ghana went through and the slave trading affected it and affected a great number of generations.
The story of Marjorie, like the author herself Yaa Gyasi, who will not be able to see herself as an African American once she moves with her family to Alabama in the USA that we know today only because she is different coming from another distant continent is where we see to what history lead the families. Now it is true that matters have become quite easier generation after generation but there are still some long-standing consequences of the colonization of Africa and the slave trade.
We definitely need more novels like this and since this is a debut novel, I can’t wait to pick up the next book she’s going to write (if she’s planning on writing one). It felt really educating and eye opening to me and I think that now, I’m into family sagas. Let met know if you’ve read Homegoing and your thoughts on it and maybe some family sagas if you know any?
I hope you enjoyed this! I hope you all have a wonderful day! Thank you for tagging along.