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Summary

Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize

A New York Times 2016 Notable Book

One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016

NPR's Debut Novel of the Year

One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016

One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016

Homegoing is an inspiration.” (Ta-Nehisi Coates) 

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 300 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 18th-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 20th-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.  

Includes a PDF of the Family Tree 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2016 Yaa Gyasi (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Gyasi's characters are so fully realized, so elegantly carved - very often I found myself longing to hear more. Craft is essential given the task Gyasi sets for herself - drawing not just a lineage of two sisters, but two related peoples. Gyasi is deeply concerned with the sin of selling humans on Africans, not Europeans. But she does not scold. She does not excuse. And she does not romanticize. The black Americans she follows are not overly virtuous victims. Sin comes in all forms, from selling people to abandoning children. 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)

"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)

What listeners say about Homegoing

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Enlightening and informative

Beautifully written Gyasi weaves her narrtitive through generations and continents. I feel I have gained some small insight into the suffering of generations of Gold Coast indigenous people, who were sold into slavery.
While exploring the complex identities those of us in post-colomial societies often grapple with.

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  • Rick
  • 07-05-19

Beautiful and Haunting

This is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. It was deeply moving and I didn’t want it to end. One of things I’m left with is how devastating slavery was and its lingering effects are still with us. The voice actor does a pretty good job as well. I also have the Kindle version but I prefer the narration. You have to really pay attention Chapter to chapter to how the characters are connected to each other or you will be lost.

18 people found this helpful

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  • lavalleem
  • 06-08-18

Highly Recommended

I came upon Yaa Gyasi and Homegoing based off a colleague's recommendation and wow did it truly impress. The structure of the novel, the thoughtful framework, the elegant intricacy of the plot and the historical accuracy all make this novel top notch. The narration has a fluidity, while maintaining the focus and engagement of the listener.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Daryl
  • 19-06-16

A Novel in Stories

I really did enjoy this book. It is two families' journey, spanning of more than 200 years, from Africa to America, with paths diverging and converging. Some descendants felt hardship, others felt privilege, some both wrapped up in each other.
The strength of this book is that it moves along over such a long period, with the families really not connecting too much to be unbelievable. But its weakness is also its many characters, so much so that it was hard to keep the strands of the families separate and to actually get to know some of the characters' motivations themselves.
The narrator was a good choice, though sometimes flat in places; perhaps this book was a bit too wide-sweeping for him (my opinion). Maybe a second narrator might have been better, to read the female characters, or the passages taking place in Ghana, or some other way to complement his solid narration of the coalmine settings or the deep south.
Well worth your time and credit.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Tyler
  • 21-02-20

wow. just wow.

I have listened and read many, many books. This is, by far, one of my favorites. The story is perfection.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jason Bretz
  • 24-01-17

not very engaging

I really struggled to finish. the narrator was excellent...but I just didn't enjoy the book. there is a common thread all the way through...but they are constantly introducing new characters...which makes it hard to follow.

5 people found this helpful

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  • shehaaz
  • 29-06-16

A beautiful book

A book that deserves five stars. The subject matter made me angry and some parts made me cry.

A poem from the book

"Split the Castle open,
find me, find you.
We, two, felt sand,
wind, air.
One felt whip. Whipped,
once shipped.

We, two, black.
Me, you.
One grew from
cocoa's soil, birthed from nut,
skin uncut, still bleeding.
We, two, wade.
The waters seem different
but are same.
Our same. Sister skin.
Who knew? Not me. Not you."

23 people found this helpful

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  • Joy
  • 07-12-17

An important story but terribly disjointed

Sometimes this story had a wonderful poetic flow.Especially in the beginning with the characters in Africa.My problem with this story was it's overall flow from one character to the next as well as from one continent to another not to mention from one generation to the next. As I think about how this overall flow was so disjointed, I realize that the whole story needed some serious editing and rewriting to get this story to flow better. This could have been an excellent story with more character development and even a more in-depth look at the history of the cultures could have really tied this story together.
I stuck with this story but by the last two hours of this book I was ready to toss in the towel and might have returned the book earlier on if I had not purchased it in a two for one sale.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Ann Feehan
  • 15-08-16

Beautiful Story of Family and America's Great Shame

This was hard to listen to, but I loved each carefully crafted character. It helped me understand the current state of Blacks in America, how this nation got to this place. I wish all my conservative friends would read it, but I doubt they will. I recommend this to anyone, like Marjorie, who loves books that speak to your heart.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Joe U.
  • 09-04-20

A history of us

Take a trip from precolonial West Coast Africa to slavery in the US South to post abolition in the East Coat to the return home. A great tale of the many phases o that shaped AFRiCaN American existence told, told through a riveting and personalized lens

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cheryl
  • 26-06-16

Disappointing after all the hype

I really wanted to like this book. Expecting a literary novel, it delivered a disjointed collection of short stories. The character development seemed to wear thin very early in the book. The motivation of most of the characters was unclear. The reader was not able to affect female voices so it was often hard to determine who was speaking until the sentences unfolded to include "she said." He also would lapse into an annoying cadence at times that was distracting from the stories. I recently read Gysai's op-ed in the New York Times and saw the strength of her writing. Although Homegoing was not all that I expected, I look forward to this author's future works.

34 people found this helpful