Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, San Francisco Chronicle, Oprah.com, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the notorious Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and shipped off to America to be sold into slavery.
With breathtaking scope, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the slave traders of the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the Asantes' struggle against British colonialism to the first stirrings of the American Civil War, from the jazz of twentieth-century Harlem to the sparkling shores of modern Ghana. Yaa Gyasi's extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed--and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
"Homegoing is an inspiration." Ta-Nehisi Coates
"Magical.... Hypnotic.... Yaa Gyasi [is] a stirringly gifted writer." The New York Times Book Review
"Powerful.... Compelling.... Illuminating." The Boston Globe
"[Toni Morrison’s] influence is palpable in Gyasi’s historicity and lyricism; she shares Morrison’s uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slavery’s moral and emotional fallout.... No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country." Vogue
"[A] commanding debut... will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. When people talk about all the things fiction can teach its readers, they’re talking about books like this." Marie Claire
"A remarkable feat — a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes, and fears. A tremendous debut." Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment
"Thanks to Ms. Gyasi’s instinctive storytelling gifts, the book leaves the reader with a visceral understanding of both the savage realities of slavery and the emotional damage that is handed down, over the centuries.... By its conclusion, the characters’ tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight." The New York Times
"Brims with compassion.... Yaa Gyasi has given rare and heroic voice to the missing and suppressed." NPR
About the Author
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in New York City.