Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
★ ★ ★ ★ ½
"We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture."
A brilliantly powerful read, Homegoing is a series of fictional stories set around a family tree, beginning in Ghana in the eighteenth Century and ending in U.S.A. in around the 1980-90's. The book begins with two sisters, birthed by the same mother but belonging to separate families, and follows the the journeys of each family line. While one sister married into a white British family and managed to live comfortably, the other was sold into the slave trade. This stark contrast was just the beginning of the series of eye-opening, heartbreaking stories that made up Homegoing.
The way Gyasi structured the chapters provided a very interesting perspective and she was able to successfully represent three-hundred years of history into three-hundred pages. The writing was simple, blunt and strong, and I was really able to feel each moment of anger and sadness. While there were a few moments where I became lost in chapters, and confused between characters; in the scheme of things it still didn't take away from my overall appreciation of this novel.
The book is an incredibly important reminder of not only how terrifying and inhumane the injustices faced by African American people have been, but also how recently they occurred. Despite being a fictional novel, Homegoing is a fierce statement about something very real, and should be read by everyone.