This Xmas I had the absolute pleasure of reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, a novel that has been praised throughout the world and is finally landing on our shores TODAY (on the 5th of January, for those of you reading this at a later date). I’m very pleased to say that all the good things I heard rang true.
Gyasi’s novel begins with two estranged sisters, Effia and Esi; Effia the wife of a British slave master, Esi a captured slave held in the dungeons of the castle that Effia lives in. The novel begins with a chapter on Effia, then Esi and then alternates between their next generation’s descendant as they experience the creation of America by black hands, while Effia’s descendants remain in the Gold Coast.
It feels very much like a book of linked short stories, with the line of family tragedy passing down through generations. Occasionally I did mourn the passing of the characters and the lack of time spent with them, but the structure in of itself feels like an integral part to the story.
The whole structure of the novel immediately feels different from anything else I’ve read before. Gyasi has created a magnificent piece of fiction absolutely rooted in history. It is an extremely important novel and I will be reading it again. What a debut.
What to read next:
- Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah
- Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death?
Thank you Penguin Books for the copy to read.