Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel traces the impact of the slave trade through generations of a single family and illuminates slavery’s horrific legacy and the impacts on those who were enslaved and those who were not.
In eighteenth century Ghana two half-sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in New York City. Her novel was selected in 2016 for the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” Award, the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/ Hemingway Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book.
Additional Reading Suggestions from Henryatta Ballah, Assistant Professor of History at Connecticut College:
Boahen, Albert A. African Perspectives on Colonialism. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
Gilbert, Erik, and Jonathan T. Reynolds. Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present. Prentice Hall, 2012.
Northrup, David. Africa’s Discovery of Europe, 1450-1850. Oxford University Press, 2014.