My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In One Line: Beautiful, heartbreaking story of two sisters told over generations, written brilliantly, will leave you surrounded by some intelligent thoughts, and provide you strength to understand and empathise the characters not only in the book but those around you.
Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this gorgeous and heartbreaking book, I’d like to say that if you need time to read and complete this book – say, over a span of a week or a month – it’s completely fine. Because this book will most definitely demand full attention and stir your emotions in a way that will take some time to get over from.
What drew me to this book was, quite honestly, the cover design. A woman of colour in the centre with cotton plantation imagery along with a very African colour scheme – I instantly knew this had something to do with their culture and/or slave trade. A historical fiction, and a debut novel, I was intrigued.
And the book did not let me down at all.
The story follows two sisters who, born with different destinies, are never able to meet each other despite having spent a few moments, unknown to them, in the same building.
With one sister on the top floor and the other in dungeons, this imagery actually becomes their life in terms of social status and privileges.
Effia gets married to a white man who works in slave trade while Esi, her sister, is sold
into the same business. Every chapter (named as the characters) then on, shares life stories of the next generation until it takes us to the present time.
The fact that I had trouble turning the page because of its intensity and the pain I felt, says a lot about Yaa Gyasi and her brilliant writing style. I can’t imagine how people dealt with such a life in reality when I couldn’t even read about it without having to hug the book, hoping the characters would somehow feel better.
“He had always said that the joining of a man and a woman was also the joining of two families. Ancestors, whole histories, came with the act, but so did the sins and the curses. The children were the embodiment of that unity, and they bore the brunt of it all.”
Homegoing describes the intensity and affect that each activity and action, done in the moment, can have that lingers in the generations to come. It also introduces us to the characters and their frustration to break away from every injustice and cruelty brought to them in the name of laws, rules and lifestyle.
If you’re seeking a book that could potentially change you as a person – for the better, stirs emotions in your heart and teach you intelligence in its truest forms, Homegoing is definitely the one.
If you’re reading this post in 2017, don’t end this year without meeting Effia and Esi.
“The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad,” this thing “white” and this thing “black,” was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.”
AUDIO BOOK VERSION: I was switching between the book and audio, something I don’t normally do, but the narration was just amazing! It definitely did enhance the experience in some ways.