REVIEW: Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

There has been a lot of excitement surrounding this book, with reviews in magazines and newspapers and many well respected writers endorsing Homegoing. The novel tells the story of two sisters, one sold into slavery, one marrying a slave trader. I had high expectations for this novel, but I also assumed that I knew what type of novel this would be. 

After two chapters you realise that Gyasi has done something very clever with this book, going beyond the usual boundaries of the novel to tell the stories of many rather than just one or two protagonists. With each chapter her authorial voice changes and develops. Spanning a huge time scale, this novel is rich with historical research and after reading it and turning to the authors note, I was not surprised to find this novel was seven years in the making. Homegoing is a work of love and dedication. It is crafted so beautifully and filled with a really important message. I want to read it again to take in all of the details and piece every part of the story together in my mind.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s an important book, it is honest and heartbreaking and it shows the long term devastation of slavery and segregation. For anyone who responds with all lives matter when the message black lives matter is posted on social media, they need to read this book. It explores the insidious racism that still exists and why it does, the ways in which people are born into particular lives and expected to survive with what society has given them. It is a fantastic, courageous read, a history lesson and an epic novel all in one.

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