Yaa Gyasi

Book cover

Elise recommended this book to me, and I’m glad I read it. I can’t avoid comparing it to Roots, which I think is an obvious antecessor. Homegoing follows two threads of a family that starts in West Africa in the 1700s, one of which stays in Africa and the other of which is enslaved and taken to America. The book moves a bit faster than Roots, but has similarly memorable characters. My favorite characters were Unlucky and H. The parallel tracks in Africa and the U.S. add a bit of depth compared to Roots, and I think Homegoing more realistically depicts the way that slavery and Jim Crow break up the individual characters’ knowledge of their genealogy. Although I only thought about this retroactively, it’s also fun to consider all the instances of “homegoing” that happen throughout the story, and the different perspectives each gives on that generic concept. My only complaint about this book is that I think the last section ties everything up with a bow a little too neatly, in a way that I thought was pretty predictable.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars