Book Review: Homegoing

Author: Yaa Gyasi
Publisher: Penguin Random House
ISBN: 9780735209824
Genre: Fiction

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Reading this book feels like watching two side by side screens at the same time, but you can still keep up because they show different parts of the same show: Black post-coloniality in both America and West Africa. Usually, folx focus on or the other as “having it worse” at the hands of white people, but in Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi shows fuller sides of both stories. I was hesitant at first since the book began with a slave narrative (and I, for one, have met my quota of Slavery Entertainment ©), but the skillful way in which Gyasi weaves the threads of the different stories into one compelled me to continue. Homegoing follows the lineage of fire and water, Effia and Esi, sisters from two different Big Man misters, one in Ghana and the other enslaved in America. Each chapter is a vignette belonging to one of their descendants, each carrying out his/her life on the continent or in America. I love how Gyasi shows the intergenerational trauma within black lineage, highlighting the effects of slavery without getting into pain porn territory. Definitely read this book.

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