The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day. Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

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Critic Reviews (21)

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Critic Score Distribution
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  1. Positive: 18 Out of 21
  1. Mixed: 3 Out of 21
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 21
Critical Consensus: Good.

Her Zimbabwe

30 Apr 2017
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines trauma as an emotional upset or a behavioural state resulting from severe mental and emotional stress or physical injury. It has also been known in psychology, that trauma can induce behavioural disorders that a ...

Portland Book Review 30 Apr 2017

This is an incredibly hard review to write. Perhaps because the content, reviewing Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi, is unbelievably traumatic – drawn from the very evils of human nature, the heartlessness of slavery, and the devastation of racism in the Un ...

Homeland Reviews

30 Apr 2017
Publisher’s Summary Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of A ...

Star Tribune

30 Apr 2017
Few stories in literature are more compelling than tales of two characters whose intertwined lives diverge to meet diametrically opposed fates. The destinies of Effia Otcher and Esi Asare in Yaa Gyasi’s spellbinding “Homegoing” recall those of ...

LA Times

30 Apr 2017
If you’ve been paying any attention to pop culture, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in slavery narratives, particularly in Hollywood. The most recent is the History channel’s remake of “Roots,” the iconic 1970s miniseries based on Alex Ha ...

Philadelphia Print Wor

29 Apr 2017
I have often laid in bed at night wondering when my ancestors lost their languages and accents. When was the moment they stopped remembering what their parents looked like? When did they realize they didn’t remember what the word for family was? I ...

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Alfred A. Knopf





Literary Awards:

PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Nominee, Shortlisted (2017)
Dylan Thomas Prize Nominee, Longlisted (2017)
National Book Critics Circle Award for John Leonard Prize (2016)
The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Nominee, Shortlisted (2016)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2016)
Alabama Author Award - Fiction (2017)

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