REVIEW | Homegoing

“The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.”

This review works in conjunction with my review videos so make sure you watch them too! 


Homegoing was an absolutely stunning book and hands down my top read of 2017 so far. I just cannot stop marvelling at how wonderfully written and cleverly put together this whole story is.

Homegoing begins with two half sisters in the Gold Coast of Africa, what is now Ghana. One of these sisters marries a slave trader, and the other one becomes a slave herself. The novel follows one member of each generation following those two sisters as they journey through the history of slave trade in Ghana and slavery in America until eventually we reach the present day.

Each chapter is dedicated to one character at a time, and because of this the novel reads both as one story and also as a collection of interwoven short stories. This complexity and the level of layering in the writing of this book is something that I just can’t stop marvelling at. Not only that but the book was beautifully written, both poetic and easy to read at the same time. Like I said before, a five star book as far as I’m concerned!



“We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?, Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there you get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”

“You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

“The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.”

“The need to call this thing ‘good’ and this thing ‘bad,’ this thing ‘white’ and this thing ‘black,’ was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.”

“This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others.”

“If we go to the white man for school ,we will learn the way the white man wants us to learn. We will come back and build the country the white man wants us to build. One that continues to serve them. We will never be free.”

“The white man’s god is just like the white man. He thinks he is the only god, just like the white man thinks he is the only man. But the only reason he is god instead of Nyame or Chukwu or whoever is because we let him be. We do not fight him.”

“How could he explain to Marjorie that what he wanted to capture with his project was the feeling of time, of having been a part something that stretched so far back, was so impossibly large, that it was easy to forget that she, and he, and everyone else, existed in it—not apart from it, but inside it.”


Why do you think Yaa Gyasi chose to name the novel ‘Homegoing’? Does the concept of homegoing feel like the dominant theme in the book to you?

What does this book have to say about the idea of ‘beliefs’ and ‘otherness,’ and about which beliefs are given validity and which aren’t?



New Yorker article 

Yaa Gyasi talks about the book

Interview with Yaa Gyasi

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