Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi details the beginnings of the slave trade as African tribes raid one another’s villages to gain riches by kidnapping young men and women at the behest of British slave traders. The Gold Coast of Africa became Ghana where to this day stands the Cape Coast Castle and the “Door of No Return ” leading to the beach where the slave ships waited to sail to the Caribbean and America.
Homegoing is a story of Africa and the havoc wrought by British colonization. The book tells a parallel story of Africans chained together and cast upon the shores of America. Gyasi writes in Homegoing of generation after generation of her people searching for identity in frightening and ever-changing worlds in Africa, the American South and the streets of present day Harlem. Listen to Gyasi’s voice:
White men get a choice. They get to choose they job, choose they house. They get to make black babies, then disappear into thin air, like they wasn’t never there to begin with, like these black women they slept with or raped done laid on top of themselves and got pregnant. White men get to choose for black men too. Used to sell ’em; now they just send ’em to prison like they did my daddy, so they can’t be with their kids.
Homegoing is compelling, engaging, insightful and beautifully written The novel follows generations of descendants seeking answers and understanding as to how their past became the present. Through it all, Gyasi never loses the thread, weaving back and forth taking the reader along on an emotional journey. There will be much more to come from this brilliant first time novelist.