Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

HomegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How do you think did I get this scar? Yaw, one of the character in the novel asks his students. The latter come up with various replies. They are all speculating and when they are done, they ask their teacher Yaw for a finite answer. Yaw replies, ” I was only a baby. All I know is what I’ve heard.” This is perhaps one of the most important motif of the novel. What we hear or what is passed on to us is a matter of half-truth…..like the half-caste who stands neither here nor there. Yaa Gyasi’s novel is a sweeping saga of family history through generations. At times, one tends to get lost in the maze of trees that stand tall in the story – opposing pillars that are part of the same soil but that are drifted apart by powerful forces of greed, racism and prejudice. The story of two sisters Effia and Esi give way to multiple currents of thoughts. Like a river that runs into different directions, separating at some point from its own water, and then perhaps meeting at some other point, the saga too takes us to distant locations. But the stone, the symbol of the past, the connecting link goes along too – as a token or a reminder. It is the memory-keeper.

Another significant strand of the story is that the narrative of slavery is not one-sided in the novel. There are moments when victim and perpetrator meet, and become accomplices in crime. This re-emphasizes the fact that history is only a story – the dominant one is that which is spoken by those in power. It will only be partially true. Much of it will be a fabrication or a cover-up. When Marjorie writes her poem, it pinpoints to this very complicity –

We, two, wade.

The waters seem different

but are same.

Our same. Sister skin.

Who knew? Not me. Not you.

Those interested in understanding history as fiction, history as mere stories whose truths ought to be interrogated will find Homegoing a compelling read.

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14 thoughts on “Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    • I know….Even I am thinking why!…..I did like the book but my only issue was that I kept forgetting who’s who and this slackened my pace…..I wish there were a stronger connection between chapters. But I would like to read it again to see how it will affect me. Thanks for visiting…..:)

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  1. मैने आपका ब्लॉग “Bloggers Recognition Award” के लिए नामांकित किया है। जिसका लिंक इस प्रकार है “http://www.jyotidehliwal.com/2017/02/bloggers-recognition-award-for-aapki.html”

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  2. I’m surprised at the 3 stars, I thought this was an astounding read, but I did have to refer back to the family tree before every chapter and this was probably made easier by reading the hardback version, I’m so glad I didn’t read it on an e-reader.

    This is an amazing novel and achievement, to me it is a work of art, to have portrayed that history, interwoven through the stories of characters in two family lines and the metaphors of fire and water that trickle through each line. I’ll be thinking about this one for some time to come I’m sure. Thank you for your review, I enjoyed reading it and the comments.

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    • I can understand why you are surprised. Fiction leaves impressions on different people differently. To some a book might be an awesome read and to others, it might to click at all. I liked the book but if I have to compare it with my experiences in reading others books like The Nightingale, or The Story Hour or All The Light We Cannot See, it falls short. It is completely a subjective thing. Thanks for your valuable comment. I appreciate it. 🙂

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