How did your reading go this month? Did you read something set in Africa that you enjoyed? Share in the comments!
“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must 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 get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”
― Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing
I read our main title: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This is a multigenerational saga that spans countries and centuries. Two half-sisters are born in eighteenth-century Ghana in different villages. The kicker: they don’t know the other exists. One sister, Effia, marries an English slave trader, moves into Cape Coast Castle, and lives a life of comfort and somewhat peace. She raises half-caste children with her white husband. The other sister, Esi, is captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle, sold into slavery, and shipped off on a boat. She ends up in America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.
This book follows Effia and Esi’s descendants through eight generations. It discusses slavery in the past all the way through to racism in the present. One thread loops through Ghana with Effia’s family. Another thread travels America with Esi’s family. Readers switch back and forth between each woman’s descendants to learn how past actions influence their futures.
Gyasi’s debut novel was absolutely breathtaking. I listened to the audiobook and wished that I would have had access to the family tree that was in the front of the print book. If you decide to give this book a listen, Knopf Double Day has a copy of the family tree online that you can use. As I was reading, I was amazed that this was the author’s debut novel! Homegoing was beautifully written and tore at my heart as it introduced characters with heartbreaking stories of loss, danger, and love. Gyasi does a wonderful job of telling the accounts of a family and how their bodies are affected by events/people/places out of their control, while also being sensitive to their souls.
In December, we’re headed to Cuba!