Saturday, August 6, 2016

Homegoing: A novel by Yaa Gyasi

There's a reason this is one of the most talked about books this summer. The basic back-of-the-book blurb doesn't give the true power of the story, which follows two half sisters from different villages in Ghana, and the lives of their descendants, for 3 centuries. It's quite a tale, and an eye opener for me. I read a lot, and have experienced the lives and conditions of Africans and African Americans in many books, some quite visceral and explicit in detail. However, the linear story, added to the individual ones made this quite compelling. This says a lot, since each story pretty much stands alone for the character it focuses on. In some cases you learn a little about the previous generation/main character, in other, nothing at all. And, as the stories alternate between the decedents of each sister, this made the family tree in the front of the book exceedingly valuable for me.

I am not a lover of short stories, so the fact that I liked this book so much, which is very much like a book of related short stories, indicates the power of the writing. My one complaint is that I really do want to know more about most of the characters and their lives, and also to know more definitively the back story before their births. My knowledge of African history is not my strong suit, so I did do a bit of reading on that to help shore up the knowledge base of where the story begins. For me, as a white reader, I was quite involved and quite moved/impacted by many of the experiences. It is not my heritage, nor my history (for despite living in the South much of my life, Southern heritage is not my family heritage.) I am curious to hear how other readers, for whom aspects of this story are incorporated in their own family history, relate.

Tags: 2016-read, didn-t-want-to-put-it-down, i-heard-about-it-on-npr, made-me-look-something-up, read, read-on-recommendation, taught-me-something, thank-you-charleston-county-library, thought-provoking, will-look-for-more-by-this-author, wow

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