Mr B's review
This novel doesn’t pull any punches when dealing with the devastating impact of slavery, racial divides and the effects of British colonialism. Spanning from the Gold Coast of Africa, to modern-day America we follow the timelines of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi as their descendants struggle through experiences beyond their control. Gyasi paints a vivid, rich array of characters, and has created such a gripping story with a powerful message of both sorrow and hope that lingered with me long after finishing.
A BBC Top 100 Novels that Shaped Our World
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 Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portraits, Homegoing is a searing and profound debut from a masterly new writer.
‘This incredible book travels from Ghana to the US revealing how slavery destroyed so many families, traditions and lives – and how its terrifying impact is still reverberating now. Gyasi has created a story of real power and insight’ Stylist, the Decade’s 15 Best Books by Remarkable Women
Selected for Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists 2017
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best First Book
Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction
Shortlisted for the Beautiful Book Award 2017
Homegoing is a novel I wish I could have read when I was a young woman. An intelligent, beautiful and healing read, destined to become a classic — Zadie Smith Shows the unmistakable touch of a gifted writer * The New Yorker * One of the richest, most rewarding reads of 2016 * Elle * Homegoing is one hell of a book… I recommend Homegoing without reservation. Definitely a must read for 2016. — Roxane Gay I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration — Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award winning author of ‘Between the World and Me’ Wildly ambitious debut by a 26-year-old writer . . . It’s impossible not to admire the ambition and scope of Homegoing . . . By its conclusion, the characters’ tales of loss and resilience have acquired an inexorable and cumulative emotional weight — Michiko Kakutani * New York Times * A marvellous novel * Starred Publishers Weekly * The brilliance of this structure, in which we know more than the characters do about the fate of their parents and children, pays homage to the vast scope of slavery without losing sight of its private devastation . . . . [Toni Morrison’s] influence is palpable in Gyasi’s historicity and lyricism; she shares Morrison’s uncanny ability to crystalize, in a single event, slavery’s moral and emotional fallout. What is uniquely Gyasi’s is her ability to connect it so explicitly to the present day: No novel has better illustrated the way in which racism became institutionalized in this country. * Vogue US * Homegoing is a remarkable feat – a novel at once epic and intimate, capturing the moral weight of history as it bears down on individual struggles, hopes and fears. A tremendous debut * Phil Klay, National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment * [A] commanding debut . . . will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. When people talk about all the things fiction can teach its readers, they’re talking about books like this * Marie Claire * Rarely does a grand, sweeping epic plumb interior lives so thoroughly. Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is a marvel. — Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness Homegoing is an epic novel in every sense of the word – spanning three centuries, Homegoing is a sweeping account of two half-sisters in 18th-century Ghana and the lives of their many generations of descendants in America. A stunning, unforgettable account of family, history, and racism, Homegoing is an ambitious work that lives up to the hype. * Buzzfeed * Gyasi gives voice, and an empathetic ear, to the ensuing seven generations of flawed and deeply human descendants, creating a patchwork mastery of historical fiction * Elle * Gyasi echoes [James] Baldwin’s understanding of a common culture marked by both yearning and pain, in which black people can confront each other across differences and reach a political understanding about what unites them. What distinguishes Gyasi’s presentation of this idea is its scope: She does not present us with a single moment, but rather delivers a multigenerational saga in which two branches of a family, separated by slavery and time, emerge from the murk of history in a romantic embrace . . . . . Homegoing is a reminder of the tenacity of fathers and mothers who struggle to keep their kin alive. The novel succeeds when it retrieves individual lives from the oblivion mandated by racism and spins the story of the family’s struggle to survive. * Bookforum * A memorable epic of changing families and changing nations * Chicago Tribune * Epic…astonishing…page-turning * Entertainment Weekly * Yaa Gyasi establishes herself as an exciting new literary voice with a powerful debut * BookPage * A hypnotic debut novel by… a stirringly gifted young writer * New York Times Book Review * Tremendous…spectacular…[Homegoing is] essential reading from a young writer whose stellar instincts, sturdy craftsmanship and penetrating wisdom seem likely to continue apace – much to our good fortune as readers * San Francisco Chronicle * [A] sprawling epic… brims with compassion… In Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi has given rare and heroic voice to the missing and suppressed * NPR * A bold tale of slavery for a new ‘Roots’ generation * Washington Post * Rich, epic. . . Each chapter is tightly plotted, and there are suspenseful, even spectacular climaxes * New York Magazine * Rarely does a grand, sweeping epic plumb interior lives so thoroughly. Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is a marvel * Shelf Awareness * Terrific — Ann Patchett Spectacular — Taiye Selasi Homegoing is stunning – a truly heartbreaking work of literary genius * Bustle * This is, hand on heart, a completely brilliant novel…a brilliant debut. If this isn’t shortlisted for some prizes next year, I’ll be disappointed * Stylist’s pick of the best new books for 2017 * Encompassing events major and minor, but skilfully skipping the civil war, it humanises big issues by giving us unforgettable characters. It could not be more relevant or needed — Damian Barr * Observer Books of the Year * Gyasi’s remarkable debut novel…. is a devastating account of America….a quality that distinguishes Homegoing is its empathetic capacity to explore horror without ever losing sight of humanity or hope * Sunday Times 3 To Watch * Gyasi imbues indigenous life with richness and dignity, in a style that owes something – though by no means everything – to Chinua Achebe…it serves as the engine for a powerful message * Daily Telegraph * A future classic and a novel that you’ll want to pass on to everyone you know…the real deal…2017 is set to be the year of Homegoing * Stylist * While the issues she wrestles with are heavy, her writing is a joy….Now, more than ever, we need books like this one * Red * A very, very fine piece of work…it’s the kind of book I’d press into the hands of a teenager or someone in their early 20s who has been asking questions about the world and say if you want to know why the world is this way, try this book for starters — Naomi Alderman Hugely courageous and really important — Sathnam Sanghera Homegoing is remarkable…the writing at the end of the book is every bit as vital as that at the start…she has produced a contemporary classic – one you’ll actually want to read * Daily Mail * An epic debut novel * Good Housekeeping * Intriguing debut…a noble enterprise — Mail on Sunday Brilliant * Sunday Telegraph * Vivid and ambitious debut * Sunday Express * Toni Morrison’s Beloved spoke to a generation. Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing will do the same for a new one. In a word, it’s brilliant. And not just “for a debut” * The Pool * An astonishing epic debut * Observer * The powerful narrative of Yaa Gyasi’s accomplished first novel do more than reveal the history that still troubles the United States. They make that history immediate * Harper’s Bazaar * A fascinating view of the history of slavery…Gyasi gives voice to suppressed stories, and that feels hugely important….it certainly deserves our attention * Sunday Times * A searing indictment of racism and a very impressive debut * Sunday Express * Ambitious, superbly written, important – don’t miss this one * Woman & Home * It is written with such maturity and beauty, that it is hard to believe it is Gyasi’s first published work…Gyasi has created a masterpiece which is educational, highly ambitious and extremely touching. Her writing style is raw and intense and leaves one desperate to see what work she will produce in the future * Press Association * Extraordinary * Glamour * The hype is justified * Emerald Street * This unputdownable tale spans three continents and seven generations to tell the story of a family and of America itself * Reader’s Digest * A bold and ambitious debut…full of fire and youthful confidence * Daily Express * Here is a book to help us remember. It is well worth its weight * Guardian * Hands down the best book I’ve read in months…I can’t wait to see what Yaa Gyasi does next * Grazia * Gyasi has created a masterpiece which is educational, highly ambitious and extremely touching * The i * Through her words we come to understand parts of history that are sometimes ignored * Pride * An epic saga * Scotsman * A wonderfully evocative and compassionate novel – one that shows deftness, depth and maturity. Homegoing is a gift to its readers and a treasure to cherish — Petina Gappah * Financial Times * The structure is fantastically strong, but it would have been nothing without Gyasi’s ability to bring each character alive. At every turn she resists cliche and dogma … she deftly weaves in just enough historical information without sacrificing its complexity … Homegoing has something better than perfection, and that is a touch of magic… [Gyasi is] the right artist at the right time — Alice O’Keefe * New Statesman * Gyasi’s debut novel has a distinctive strength and courage … a descendent of Alex Haley’s Roots and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, an extended response to Joyce Carol Oates’s Last Hundred Years trilogy * Times Literary Supplement * A confident, vivid, engrossingtale [that] winds towards a moving conclusion * Radio Times * Gyasi’s widescreen view of history powerfully drives home her view that we are all responsible for ourselves and for each other … a highly compassionate feat of storytelling * Metro * Entwining history, politics and personal events, this is an ambitious novel that is, and will continue to be, highly culturally relevant * Big Issue * Astoundingly ambitious * New Books * Ambition and talent don’t always go hand-in-hand; here they unquestionably do * Daily Mail * Tracing the descendants of two women across seven generations, this unflinching debut from Ghanaian-American author Yaa Gyasi examines the lingering effects of slavery from the 18th-century Gold Coast to the US at the turn of the 21st century * Financial Times *
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