Spanning over centuries, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi tells a riveting multi-generational saga of the descendants of an Asante woman named Maame, two half sisters—Effia and Esi. The writer first introduces Effia’s life and in the subsequent chapter, the story of Esi is told. The lives of these two sisters’ generations are unfolded alternately in the following chapters. Generation after generation, these unforgettable characters recount how their lives are shaped and sometimes forcefully transmuted into something else so that they could survive.
Through the individual world of the characters, Yaa Gyasi calls attention to several historical events such as Asanti-Anglo war, cross-Atlantic slave trade as well as slavery and racial segregation in America. She also shares the history and traditions of tribes in West Africa, now Ghana. In the series of subsequent interconnected stories, the writer speaks for the voices of the victims of slavery and the systematic discriminative acts towards Black People in America. In her earnest narrative, she tells the stories of her characters’ continuous fight for justice.
Yaa Gyassi gives an empathic novel with array of characters. They are compassionate and strong despite the circumstances they are in. The writer craftily depicts how different choices made by these characters or the different circumstances they face take them to varying fates. Although she highlights the cruelty and wrongdoing of inhumane acts, the book doesn’t focus on vengeance. Rather than that, it illuminates how to make the voice to be heard even in the hardest situation. It reinforces to have faith and keep fighting for justice and your rights. It also teaches you to find the repressed voice in the history.
What an absorbing novel. Reading the stories of these assorted characters is like seeing elaborately intricate pattern of tiles which in whole gives an astounding image and you couldn’t help but feel the invigorating chills. It is yet another powerful read of 2020 and totally eye-opening, too.