Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi [in Library Journal]
Two hundred fifty years ago in what is modern-day Ghana, two half-sisters are each given a special stone by their mother. Effia marries an Englishman and lives in the ignominiously named Castle, the center of the African Gold Coast slavery trade. Esi is temporarily imprisoned in the Castle’s hellish dungeon before she is shipped to the other side of the world.
Effia’s stone passes through her line –including a privileged son, a murdered mother, and a survivor of fire – and travels to the American South two centuries later. Esi’s stone remains buried in Africa, much like her desperate soul, as descendants are enslaved first by laws, then by heinous circumstances torturing the African American community, from unjust imprisonment to Jim Crow to drug addiction.
Two present-day members of the family will eventually meet in San Francisco and, unaware of their shared past, restore the family’s torn fabric.
Verdict: Homegoing’s early hype proves well deserved; enhancing Gyasi’s magnificent epic, narrator Dominic Hoffman shines across continents, oceans, and generations and makes this a must-have for all collections.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult